Maria and Dominic Ehrler take a daily stroll around Echo Park Lake. Photo via dominicandmaria.com.
Echo Park's most famous goose is at the Los Angeles Zoo. She's not visiting the new elephant enclosures. She's in protective custody, for the time being at least. Not only was there concern among Maria's human supporters that the big bird was increasingly vulnerable to prankster humans as her fame grew, but last week, for the first time, Maria flew out of the fenced yard where Parks and Rec workers routinely detained her when Dominic, Maria's best buddy, left the park on his motor scooter. While Dominic often encouraged the goose to fly alongside his scooter for two blocks from Lemoyne to Echo Park Ave. -- and then back -- were she to follow him farther she'd be in considerable danger from cars and buses.
Beginning last week, after Katie Couric sent Steve Hartman to Echo Park to do a Maria segment, efforts to move Maria before the lake was drained began in ernest. Eric Garcetti's office facilitated talks with the zoo, and on Friday Maria was moved.
Dominic Ehrler wrote to me in an email:
Maria went to the Zoo last Friday and was chauffeured by the Zoo Director John Lewis. I accompanied them.
Dominic has visiting rights, and, after a visit this morning, he told me that he is pleased to announce she is doing very well.
Maria has a two-room suite in the quarantine section of the zoo hospital. She will be monitored for things like worms and any other potential problems. ... A minor foot problem will be taken care of. After the quarantine period is complete in about 30 days Maria will be moved to the exhibit area where she can be seen by all. The zoo will hold/display her until her ultimate destination is determined. The zoo personnel are all in love with Maria. She is safe and secure.
It's a relief to know Maria is in a safe place, but bittersweet. It'll be a little lonely at EP Lake without Maria -- or Maria and Dominic.
Meanwhile, Steve Hartman's report on Maria was broadcast this evening on CBS.
The rest of the 30 or so domestic geese who live year-round at Echo Park Lake, may be relocated when the lake is drained later this year. The Echo Park Animal Alliance is acting as their sponsor, collecting money that will be used in efforts to move Echo Park Lake's domestic geese, turtles, and other nonmigratory animals to sanctuaries.