A star of Animal Planet's anthropomorphic Meerkat Manor reality series died in a motor-vehicle accident after filming for the show's upcoming fourth season concluded in February, a network executive told the Washington Post in a Friday report.
"It's kind of what we have to deal with in the natural world, unfortunately. Meerkats are part of the Kalahari scenery and people are now part of the Kalahari scenery and cars are part of the Kalahari scenery," Meerkat Manor executive producer Mick Kaczorowski told the Post.
"It's one of those hard things. Unlike Desperate Housewives we have no control over the story structure or the plotline."
Rocket Dog -- who ascended to the matriarch role of the Whiskers clan following the February 2007 death of her mother Flower -- was killed in what is being described as a hit-and-run while crossing a road in the Kalahari Desert, according to the Post. The Kalahari Meerkat Project informed Meerkat Manor producers of Rocket Dog's death in late April.
Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation -- the reality series' fourth season -- finished filming on February 28, the Post reported, meaning that Rocket Dog's death will not be part of the current season.
Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation will follow Rocket Dog the drama that developed after Maybelline, Rocket Dog's sister, decided to reject her leadership and formed a new Aztecs clan comprised made up of many former Whiskers members. Lacking a solid leader to unify them, both clans face familiar foes in an attempt to survive while also battling each other.
Following Flower's death due to a cobra bite in South Africa, her daughter Mozart was also killed in an apparent jackal attack less than a month later.
"Last year was tragic and we lost a lot of our major characters," Kaczorowski told the Post.
However Kaczorowski said Meerkat Manor: The Next Generation -- which premiered June 6th on Animal Planet -- will be less morbid.
"[It] is really a very different season than you've ever seen before," he told the Post. "Laugh-out-loud funny, sexy, sassy -- not like last season."