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Nico the gorilla gets in a flap at Longleat

A pair of Canada geese got Longleat Safari Park’s  silverback lowland gorilla in a flap when they tried to nest on his island home recently.

Nico, who is around 55 years old and Europe’s oldest gorilla, clearly didn’t take kindly to the uninvited geese trying to invade his home.

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 flew off, then came straight back for another go, tons of honking and really trying to tell Nico off.

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.

Nico lives on a landscaped island, over half an acre in size and positioned in the middle of a lake at Longleat. There is plenty of space for natural foraging as well as outdoor facilities for play and relaxation including lookout stations, giant tree trunk climbing frames, and a set of heavy-duty tyre and net swings.

To find out more about visiting Nico and Longleat Safari Park go to www.longleat.co.uk

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