Broken-hearted goose dies days after ‘soulmate’ froze to death

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A goose has died of a broken heart after her “soulmate” got trapped in ice and died. The gander, Hansel, died over a week ago after getting stuck at Cleethorpes Boating Lake, Lincolnshire. Grief-stricken Gretel passed away days later.

Volunteers from Cleethorpes Wildlife Rescue (CWR) were called to reports of birds getting trapped in frozen water at the lake on December 13.

Gretel was released from the icy trap, but remained in a critical condition with her paunch still frozen.

In need of deep water rescue, Hansel could not be saved in time, dying on Monday.

Cleethorpes Wildlife Rescue posted an update on Gretel two days after she was freed from the ice.

It said: “She’s eating, drinking and most importantly she’s now standing and walking on her own again.

“She has got a hobble at the minute, but this is due to her grinding her nails down when trying to get out the ice – like us when we cut our nails too short, it can hurt!

“She’s still very sad about the loss of Hansel but we’re giving her as much enrichment as possible to keep her distracted.”

Geese are “very loyal”, will mate for life and are protective of their partners, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).


They mourn alone and have been known to spend the rest of their lives as widows or widowers, PETA said.

CRW broke the sad news of Gretel’s death on its Facebook page on Monday, Grimsby Live reports.

It said: “It’s with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the loss of Gretel who passed away in comfort at the rescue this morning.

“Sadly, the loss of her partner was too much for her and despite everyone’s best efforts, we had noted she was getting more and more depressed without him.

“We always knew this was a possibility with them being such bonded birds, but as with all rescues, we always hope and aim for the best result.

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“We know they were such loved birds at the boating lake and it’s been a difficult for all of us here too…

“Our condolences to everyone who will be feeling this loss! Rest in peace, fly high and you’re back reunited with Hansel.”

Hundreds of wildlife lovers commented on the loss with Sylvia Anderson noting: “You could not have done more for them. She passed away in comfort though sad.

“She will now be reunited with her soulmate and both will be happy again.”

Jane Lesley Jackson said: “This story has been so awfully tragic and there was so much worry for what the future held for poor Gretel – sadly now more heartbreak. Poor, poor birds. They clearly needed each other. Each time we visit the lake in the future, will be emotional. Thank you for caring CWR.”

Samantha Hudson, commenting on an image shared by the volunteers, wrote: “Aww, a lovely photo. Very sad to read about Gretel – life without Hansel was obviously just too much for her to cope with.

“Pleased she was at least warm and cared for until the end – you all did a great job.”

Paula Duffin said: “Aww this is so sad. I was really hoping she would be OK without Hansel. They are at peace together now. You did your best for them both. Thank you xxx.”

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