A few of the geese on the island in Sullivan’s Pond in April 2020. — Photo: Zane Woodford Credit: Zane Woodford

One of the geese at Sullivan’s Pond in Dartmouth has died.

Municipal spokesperson Maggie-Jane Spray confirmed the death in an email to the Examiner on Friday:

Earlier this week, staff discovered that one of the geese at Sullivans Pond was deceased. Hope for Wildlife has collected the goose, and it has been sent for a necropsy to determine the cause of death. At this time, results have not been received. The other geese are being closely monitored, and they are all in good health.

Hope For Wildlife director Hope Swinimer told the Examiner that the wildlife refuge, where the geese spend their winters, got a call from a woman about the goose on Wednesday.

“She said she was watching it in the throes of death so we immediately dispatched a volunteer,” Swinimer said in an interview Friday. “But sadly we didn’t get there in time. The goose had already passed away.”

The volunteer took the body back to Hope For Wildlife, and the veterinarian there completed an initial necropsy, like an autopsy. It’s not necessarily the cause of death, but the goose had a broken bone in its neck. Swinimer hasn’t had a chance to go over the necropsy with the vet in detail, but said the broken bone doesn’t make the death suspicious.

“It could be just the bird is old, and he had a break,” Swinimer said. “You know, we break our bones all the time, just in falls and being careless or clumsy, so it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility that this was a really old goose, and sadly he had an injury.”

Coun. Sam Austin said city staff told him about the goose Wednesday night. He’d been at the pond earlier in the day and said one of the geese was off by itself, looking sick or listless.

“This one was as far away from the other geese as it could be and still be in the pond,” he said.

Swinimer said there’s no evidence to suggest anyone injured the goose.

“I think those geese are pretty loved by everybody and I don’t know too many people that would want to cause them harm, that’s for sure,” Swinimer said.

It’s not the first time one of the geese has died at the pond. Dartmouthians held a memorial in 2017 after a goose was struck and killed by a driver on Prince Albert Road.

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Zane Woodford is the Halifax Examiner’s municipal reporter. He covers Halifax City Hall and contributes to our ongoing PRICED OUT housing series. Twitter @zwoodford

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