A Canada goose that thought he was a rabbit is back in the wild after being rehabilitated at Wild ARC in Metchosin.
The goose, known as André at the EARS rabbit sanctuary in Coombs, B.C. where he was dropped off orphaned, spent the first few months of his life sharing food and sleeping quarters with rabbits sent there from University of Victoria.
He was in the pen with the 20 rabbits that were stomped to death when intruder broke into the facility in June. André, a fuzzy yellow gosling at the time, was unharmed.
But after the trauma of losing his second family, the goose was sent to Wild ARC where he could live with other migratory birds and learn to survive on his own. Upon arriving at the rehabilitation centre in early July, the first thing to go was his name.
“He’s not André to us, he’s just a goose,” said Wild ARC manager Kari Marks.
The newcomer was initially rejected and bullied by the other geese at the centre and had to be kept segregated. But after most of the geese were released, André was moved back to the aquatic pen with just one other small goose and a flock of ducklings.
Despite spending his formative months among rabbits, it’s doubtful André earnestly adopted the rabbit lifestyle of hopping around and gnawing on vegetables. At WildARC, it didn’t take him long to warm up to going in the water and behaving like a goose.
“He’s OK now, he’s figured out he’s not a rabbit,” Marks said.
Both André and the small goose were released in Florence Lake in Langford this week.