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Wellington’s very own Mother Goose

5 November 2008

Wellington’s very own Mother Goose

Recent visitors to Wellington Zoo may be wondering how a Cape Barren goose ended up with a bouncy brood of what look very much like ducklings.

With a fairytale ending to a luckless-in-love story, Goosey hatched and is tenderly raising five Australian shelduck ducklings after being unable to raise her own offspring.

Bronwyn McCulloch, the Zoo’s bird keeper, says that although Goosey has laid many eggs in recent months, none could be fertilised as she had an unsuccessful pairing with a previous partner.

Goosey was given five shelduck eggs to nurture and before long was contentedly sitting on the clutch.

‘The Australian shelducks laid a clutch of ten eggs, five were given to Goosey and replaced with regular chicken eggs so the shelduck would not notice,” Bronwyn says.

“Goosey is a wonderful and loving mother, who cherishes the ducklings as if they were her own. They will stay with her for approximately three months until they are old enough to look after themselves.”

Australian shelducks are protected in Australia. Members of the Anatidae family, they are similar to geese. The Cape Barren goose is native to Australia, and is a threatened species.

Wellington Zoo is a charitable trust principally funded by the Wellington City Council


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