Animal PLANET has confirmed that another of the stars of "Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation" was killed in a hit-and-run accident on April 28.
The 6-inch meerkat was crossing a road in the Kalahari Desert when it was struck by a vehicle, said Animal Planet spokeswoman Tahli Kouperstein. Season 4 of the docu-soap had already wrapped, so the animal's character will finish the season alive, she said. The character's death will be acknowledged in the following season. (The name of the dead meerkat will not be mentioned here but can be found easily through some Googling.)
Although bloggers, who had already picked up the news, blamed the death on a researcher on the project, Kouperstein said the driver is unknown. "They don't know who hit her. In the Kalahari, trucks just keep going. So we don't know whose truck it was."
Each meerkat had been uniquely marked, so they could identify the body, she said.
Tributes to the character are already being posted on YouTube. Fans were just getting used to the idea that the animals might die of natural causes but were disheartened that a person was responsible.
Animal Planet said the channel would hold off on its tribute so as not to spoil the show for those who don't, or don't want to, know.