The Cape Barren goose that laid the (four) golden eggs

One of the world’s rarest geese has successfully hatched in a nature park here, having previously failed because of harsh weather.

A proud Cape Barren goose and her mate have produced four goslings, which are proving to be an attraction in Coolwood Wildlife Park, outside Killarney, Co Kerry.

Hailing from south Australia, this species of goose — which is pale grey, with black markings near the tips of its wing feathers and tail, and has pink legs and black feet — is not often seen in Ireland. Sometimes called a ‘pig goose’ in its native country as it grunts like a pig, it was clearly audible to visitors to the park over the bank holiday weekend.

Coolwood owner Sean Buckley said they made special arrangements to ensure the goose hatched this year, involving a change in the “breeding clock”.

The Cape Barren goose that laid the (four) golden eggs

Normally, such geese hatch before December when the weather is warm in Australia, so Coolwood had to ensure the hatching coincided with reasonably warm weather here.

“We kept moving them from pen to pen during the winter and early spring and eventually put them into a place, in April, where they wanted to breed and could settle,” Mr Buckley said.

The new family co-exists with a range of other animals, including lemurs, prairie dogs, llamas, wallabies, peacocks, parrots, and a pair of noisy compatriot birds called kookaburras — also known as the laughing jackass — to name just a few.

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