Mert the goose, who served as the keeper of the Bronx Zoo’s children’s area and rose to fame on the Animal Planet series “The Zoo,” has died.
Zoo officials made the announcement via Instagram on Tuesday night that the aged domestic goose, a fan favorite, was euthanized on March 19 due to complications from an inoperable tumor.
“He was so fun to watch on TV, we were hoping to see him one day,” a fan wrote on the Instagram post alongside a photo of Mert happily being pulled along the zoo’s grounds in a green wagon.
The zoo called Mert an “icon” in the post, which was most appropriate for the animal who greeted locals and tourists for nearly 30 years. Mert was hatched in the Bronx and was diagnosed with an abdomen tumor in 2016. His “oversized presence” at the zoo led him to be dubbed the “King of New York’s Bronx Zoo” by People magazine.
“Mert lived a really long life in our Children’s Zoo bringing smiles to our staff for nearly three decades,” Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo, said in a statement. “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 owed the hearts of millions.”
Mert served as a personality of sorts on the first season of Animal Planet’s “The Zoo,” which gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at animal care, rehabilitation and more. The friendly Mert patrolled the Children’s Zoo and his health issues were chronicled in the series.
A special update on Mert's health was featured in the series' second season and aired after the Puppy Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday. Animal Planet says the episode will air again later in the season.
“People really wanted to know how Mert is doing,” said Lisa Lucas, executive producer of “The Zoo,” ahead of the season premiere.
Lucas said one couple came to New York on their honeymoon specifically to visit animals they met through the show.
“Because of that kind of response, we are doing some revisiting this season,” she added.
With Lisa L. Colangelo