Meet Gerald, the goose who thinks he's a tapir

02:47, Sep 24 2012
FAMILY: Gerald has spent the past 10 years living with the zoo’s pair of tapirs, Mr and Mrs Branco.
FAMILY: Gerald has spent the past 10 years living with the zoo’s pair of tapirs, Mr and Mrs Branco.

Meet Gerald the goose. 

Gerald lives at Hamilton Zoo. He is 30-years-old, has arthritis and loves spending his days quietly resting in the sun.

And he thinks he is a tapir.

OUT FOR A WALK: "He likes to know where they are at all times."
OUT FOR A WALK: "He likes to know where they are at all times."

Gerald has spent the past 10 years living with the zoo's pair of tapirs, Mr and Mrs Branco. 

The goose enjoys grooming the tapirs, keeper Samantha Kudeweh says.

"He considers himself inseparable from them. He probably thinks he is a tapir now, he's been with them so long. We get the impression that he thinks of himself as much more of a tapir than a goose.''

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When the 200kg tapirs are shifted into another enclosure Gerald gets "very upset" if he is not moved with them, she said. 

"He likes to know where they are at all times and when he knows they are going to be moved he insists he is moved with them.''

No one quite knows exactly how or why Gerald came to live with Mr and Mrs Branco, she said.

"It was in the mid-1990s and we think he just was a goose at a loose end around the zoo and looked at where the tapirs were and thought it was a nice exhibit to live in.

"He then took an instant shine to tapirs and has been with them ever since.''

Attempts to pair Gerald with a feathered friend from his own species had failed, she said.

"He wasn't impressed at all with another gooose. He seems perfectly happy with his tapirs.''

Waikato Times