NICO THE GORILLA GETS GOOSE BUMPED

Europe’s oldest gorilla ended up getting his feathers well and truly ruffled after a bizarre confrontation with a grumpy goose.

Nico, a 55-year-old silverback lowland gorilla, clearly didn’t take kindly to a pair of Canada geese who attempted to invade his island home at Longleat Safari Park.

The amazing encounter was captured on film by amateur photographer Michael Mechen during a visit to the Wiltshire safari park.

“I was on the Jungle Cruise boat and as we got to Nico’s island, I couldn’t see him; but there were a couple of geese there,” said Michael.

“One was standing on top of Nico’s house making tons of noise; I think they may have been looking for a place to nest.

“Then all of a sudden I saw Nico’s head pop up and he starts waving his arm at the goose, the goose flies off, then comes straight back for another go, tons of honking and really trying to tell Nico off.

“Nico chases it off again but it keeps coming back and in the end he just looks a bit bemused and wanders off to find a quieter spot to sit down,” he added.

Keepers are unsure of Nico’s exact age. He arrived at Longleat in the 1980s from Switzerland and the likelihood is that he may be even older than 55.

“Although he is now a very old man, Nico is still extremely active and in amazingly good condition,” said his keeper Mark Tye.

“However like a lot of us his temper has not necessarily improved with age and he clearly didn’t appreciate all the noise and disturbance from the geese.

“They arrive on the lake every year and remain for several months but it’s unusual for any of them to set foot on to the island.

“Although Nico didn’t come out on top initially the geese clearly decided there were easier places to set up home and we haven’t seen them since,” he added.

The gorilla, who lives on an island in the middle of a lake at Longleat, has a purpose built, centrally-heated house, complete with classical pillars and satellite television.

At over half an acre in size Nico’s island home also includes plenty of space for natural foraging as well as outdoor facilities for play and relaxation.

There are also a series of landscaped lookout stations, giant tree trunk climbing frames, and a set of heavy-duty tyre and net swings.

Built in 1804 by leading landscape gardener Humphry Repton, the island was part of major alterations made at Longleat by the second Lord Bath.

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