Maria (goose)

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Mario was a male[1] Toulouse Goose (Anser anser), formerly living in Echo Park, Los Angeles who became the subject of news reports in 2011 after forming an unusual association with a local resident, named Dominic Ehrler.

Mario, who was originally named Maria by locals and assumed to be female, was familiar to users of the park for several years as a goose which preferred the company of humans to that of his own species, often pecking at homeless people or following walkers and runners around.[2]

Ehrler, a retired salesman, first encountered Maria/Mario at Echo Park lake in the summer of 2010 when the bird began to follow him on his daily walks around the lake, readily accepting food from him and soon becoming so attached that he would wait beside the road every morning for Ehrler to arrive at the park. Maria would walk alongside and possessively 'protect' Ehrler from other park users and their dogs and would also attempt to follow him from the park, flying closely behind him as he rode away on his scooter, necessitating attempts to distract the goose, or lock him behind a fence when leaving, to avoid being followed all the way home.[3] [4] [5]

Maria/Mario, along with the other geese present at Echo Park were temporarily relocated to Los Angeles Zoo in April 2011 and placed into quarantine, as the park underwent restoration and the lake was drained. It was at this time that veterinarians at the zoo discovered that Maria was in fact a male goose (a gander).[4] He was then named Mario. Zoo officials have stated their plans to house Mario at a children's zoo,[1] though it has also been suggested that the Echo Park geese will be relocated to another lake. Ehrler continued to visit Mario at the zoo and stated his intention to maintain the friendship and follow the gander to his new home,[4] also raising the possibility of moving to Oregon with him.[2] The latest plans are to have Mario live at the zoo after the Echo Park lake refurbishing is completed, as it is a safer place for him to live. [6]

Mario has also appeared in the 2010 music video for the song "End Love" by the rock band OK Go, which has received over 13 million views on YouTube,[4] the band having allowed Mario to appear prominently in the video after he bit guitarist Andy Ross during filming at the park.[2]

Mario died on Friday, June 29, 2018, at his home at the LA Zoo. He passed away in his sleep from old age. The zoo released a statement saying, "The Los Angeles Zoo is sad to announce the passing of the celebrity, domestic Toulouse goose, Mario. The nine-year-old goose resided at the Winnick Family Children's Zoo for the last seven years until his passing on Friday, June 29 due to old age. Mario was an animal that brought joy to many Angelenos, and he will be missed."[7][8] [9]


  1. ^ a b Hartman, Steve. "Man-goose bond (and gender) put to the test". CBS Evening News. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Berzon, Alexandra (12 February 2011). "'Maria, Maria, I've Just Met A Goose Named Maria...'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  3. ^ Pool, Bob. "A match of man and goose". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d "Goose waits everyday for LA Man". Eyewitness News 9. Archived from the original on 2011-04-07.
  5. ^ Hernandez, Lisa. "Man explains love for a goose in Echo Park". KABC-TV Los Angeles, CA. Retrieved 3 April 2011.
  6. ^ Berzon, Alexandra. "Los Angeles Zoo Welcomes Gander". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2 July 2011.
  7. ^ "Remembering Mario".
  8. ^ "Former Viral Sensation Mario the Goose Dies at LA Zoo".
  9. ^ "RIP Mario - the most famous goose of Echo Park Lake".

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