Abandoned gosling on P.E.I. finds new family, thanks to social media

A social media post has helped to find a new home for a gosling on P.E.I. that got separated from its family.

The story of the gosling started when the Atlantic Veterinary College Wildlife Service received a call from some people in the Johnstons River area.

"First we go through asking the right questions like is this gosling really orphaned? Are there no other geese around?" said Fiep de Bie, wildlife technician with the AVC Wildlife Service.

"They had been very diligent, they actually had stayed there for an hour or so, had really checked the area for other geese and there were none there."

De Bie estimates the gosling was less than a week old, but had no idea why it was alone.

"Very hard to really determine," de Bie said.

"I don't know if they were spooked or if there was like a predator in the area. It's hard to know how they became separated."

'Really heartwarming'

The AVC Wildlife Service posted a photo of the gosling and was immediately overwhelmed with offers from Islanders suggesting Canada geese who could become a new family for the lost gosling.

"That was amazing because we've learned that goslings are easily adopted by another family and so I thought, 'let's put it out on social media,'" said de Bie.

"It was overwhelming and really heartwarming, the response of everyone, sending pictures and messages, it was really very very nice."

Fiep de Bie/AVC Wildlife Service

Among the people who contacted her were some friends in New Glasgow, P.E.I., who have a property with a pond.

"It's not very busy and no roads close by and they could easily monitor the new gosling being adopted into the family," said de Bie. 

"So I thought that was the most suitable area."

New parents

Then came the tricky part: how to introduce the gosling to its new family, a job that fell to one of the property owners, Beth Hoar. 

"Because they're kind of used to the people that live there so I asked her to go up to the geese, the mom and the dad, and then place the gosling close to them," de Bie said.

"The first thing that happened is that she wanted to follow Beth and so the first attempt wasn't good."

Fiep de Bie/Atlantic Veterinary College Wildlife Service

The second attempt was more successful, as Hoar placed the gosling closer to the parents.

"It was just amazing, the moment mom and dad just heard another gosling, they came right to it," de Bie said. 

"They jumped onto the bank and adopted it and it was just standing there between those big parents, new parents."

Fiep de Bie/AVC Wildlife Service

The gosling then met its new siblings.

"The others came around and they were sort of going around each other," de Bie said.

"It was very natural and very, very easy."

A 2nd chance

For Beth Hoar, it has been fascinating to watch the gosling adapt to its new family.

"We watched them all yesterday afternoon and the little gosling was with them all the time, it was just like he had always been there," Hoar said.

"You can tell he's just a little bit younger, he's a little bit of a different colours so we can always know if he's there or not."

Beth Hoar

Hoar is happy to be a part of giving the gosling a second chance.

"The people that picked him up made sure that his family wasn't there, that he was actually abandoned because we don't want to, you know, interfere with wildlife," Hoar said.

"But for sure his family wasn't around so something needed to be done and this gosling has another chance."

Beth Hoar

De Bie agrees.

"We just wanted to give this gosling a second chance, it probably would not have made it if it was left alone there," de Bie said.

"These people did a good deed and we just saved the gosling."

De Bie says she'll continue to track how the gosling does with its new family and new home.

More P.E.I. news