Exmoor Zoo has said a sad goodbye to Seemples the much-loved meerkat who met thousands of people in North Devon.

Seemples with Portia Spear of the Exmoor Zoo education team. Picture: Exmoor ZooSeemples with Portia Spear of the Exmoor Zoo education team. Picture: Exmoor Zoo

In a Facebook post last night (Wednesday), Lynn Reynolds at the zoo said over the past few weeks he had begun to show his advanced age for a meerkat of nine years.

She said: “Needless to say we are all totally devastated. He brought so much joy and happiness to those who met him.

“He was most probably the best ambassador our zoo has ever had. He visited literally hundreds of venues such as schools, nurseries, playgroups, holiday camps, residential and nursing homes during his life.”

Seemples came into the lives of Lynn and Danny Reynolds at the zoo when he was abandoned by his mother in the depths of February and not expected to survive.

Seemples was handreared from a tiny pup by Lynn Reynolds. Picture: Exmoor ZooSeemples was handreared from a tiny pup by Lynn Reynolds. Picture: Exmoor Zoo

At first he was thought to be a ‘she’ and was not expected to make it but soon was following ‘mum’ Lynn everywhere, even joining her and the dogs on their daily walks.

Lynn added: “He held the record for the most libraries visited in Devon by a meerkat when he toured the libraries last year on the reading challenge.

“He will be sadly missed by all of us and hopefully remembered by everybody who ever met him.”

Tina Rowtcliff, daughter of Lynn and Danny at Exmoor Zoo, with Seemples as a tiny pup. Picture: Exmoor ZooTina Rowtcliff, daughter of Lynn and Danny at Exmoor Zoo, with Seemples as a tiny pup. Picture: Exmoor Zoo

Seemples was always up to something. Picture: Exmoor ZooSeemples was always up to something. Picture: Exmoor Zoo

Seemples was always up for a photograph too. Picture: Exmoor ZooSeemples was always up for a photograph too. Picture: Exmoor Zoo