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March 29, 2018 02:17 PM

 

A New York icon with a decidedly New York no-nonsense attitude, Mert the goose was a beloved fixture at the world-famous Bronx Zoo for nearly 30 years. He was also an established TV star, a fan-favorite of Animal Planet’s The Zoo.

On March 19, Mert’s tour of duty as patrol bird of the zoo’s children’s area came to a sad, but honorable closure. Zoo staff announced the loss of Mert via Instagram on Tuesday.

“Last season, viewers of THE ZOO fell in love with Mert the goose. Sadly, an inoperable tumor affected his quality of life so we made the decision to euthanize him last Monday. He was a Bronx Zoo icon for 30 years and will be missed,” the Bronx Zoo posted.

Mert hatched at the zoo in 1989, and he was well known for his tenacity and charm. Just last year, PEOPLE proclaimed him “The King of the Bronx Zoo.” While the domestic goose may not have been the most exotic looking resident, he was one of the most impactful.

Staff say he thought of himself as a human and he wasn’t afraid to challenge other men. Apparently guys sometimes found Mert intimidating, but the ladies loved him. As the exclusive clip above from The Zoo shows, Mert closely bonded with one of the female keepers.

In a statement regarding the amazing avian, Jim Breheny, Director of the Bronx Zoo and EVP of WCS Zoos and Aquarium, said: “Mert lived a really long life in our Children’s Zoo bringing smiles to our staff for nearly three decades. Guests would come to the zoo specifically to see Mert.

“Recently, Mert’s quality of life began to deteriorate and we made the decision to euthanize him. We will miss seeing Mert waddling around as if he owned the place; and in reality, he owned the hearts of millions.”

Watch The Zoo on Animal Planet on Saturdays at 9 p.m., and stay tuned for a special episode in tribute to Mert coming soon.

R.I.P. Mert, your legend will live on.

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