Maria (goose)

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Maria is 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.

Maria, named 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 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, 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 is now 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 Maria live at the zoo after the Echo Park lake refurbishing is completed, as it is a safer place for him to live. [6]

Maria has also appeared in the 2010 music video for the song "End Love" by the rock band OK Go, which has received over 11 million views on YouTube,[4] the band having decided to feature Maria prominently in the video after he bit guitarist Andy Ross during filming at the park.[2]


  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. 
  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. 

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