Pair Face Court Over $21,000 Baby Meerkat Theft

A man and woman have appeared in a Perth court, charged over the alleged theft of a baby meerkat worth $21,281.

The one-month-old “meerkitten” disappeared from its enclosure at Perth Zoo last month, sparking fears it had been snatched by a predatory bird.

But after a three-day police operation, the tiny animal was discovered safe and well at a property in the Wheatbelt town of Beverley, around 130km east of Perth.

The recovered baby meerkat. (AAP Image/Supplied by WA Police)

Jesse Ray Hooker, 22, was charged with stealing the meerkat on October 19. It’s alleged 23-year-old Aimee Cummins was given the animal two days later.

Police say she knew it was stolen.

Outside court, Hooker told reporters he was “shocked” by the animal’s eye-watering price tag.

The baby has since been reunited with its family at Perth Zoo, and security at the enclosure is currently being upgraded.

(AAP Image/Supplied by WA Police)

Neither accused was required to enter a plea today.

They were both released on bail and are due back in court next month.