Meerkat Expert Cleared of Assaulting Monkey Handler in Love Spat Over Llama-Keeper

CC BY-NC 2.0. Jason Shallcross via Flickr

Because truth really is stranger than fiction ... and an AP story like this is impossible not to take note of.

"Meerkat Expert Cleared of Assault in Zoo Love Triangle" reads the headline. "A former meerkat expert at London Zoo was cleared Tuesday of assaulting a monkey handler in a love spat over a llama-keeper," says the lead sentence. Those zoo workers are clearly having all the fun.

If only Caroline Westlake were an accountant and Kate Sanders a teacher (no offense to accountants and teachers) the tale of their heated encounter may not have gone beyond the High Court. But when you throw a meerkat expert and monkey handler, respectively, in the mix – and then toss in a llama-keeper – well there's just no way to keep a lid on it.

According to the AP file, in October a lower court found Westlake, 30, guilty of assaulting Sanders, who suffered a cut cheek from a wineglass after the two women argued at a zoo Christmas party.

The source of the conflict? They both had been romantically involved with colleague Adam Davies, yes, the llama-keeper. Westlake allegedly had no recollection of hitting her colleague with the glass. Earlier, Westminster Magistrates' Court found she had struck Sanders "recklessly but not intentionally," but now the High Court said that the magistrates had applied the wrong legal test for recklessness and they tossed out the conviction.

As for the meerkats and monkeys and llamas, hopefully life is back to normal now that the antics of their keepers have been resolved. In the meantime, if you've seen any reality television producers stalking the London Zoo, now you know why.