Mert the Goose, 'Animal Planet' Star and 'King' of the Bronx Zoo, Dies

Mert the Goose, a staple of the Bronx Zoo for nearly three decades, passed away back on March 19. The zoo's staff announced his passing on Tuesday on Instagram.

"Last season, viewers of THE ZOO fell in love with Mert the goose," zoo officials wrote. "Sadly, an inoperable tumor affected his quality of life so we made the decision to euthanize him last Monday. He was a Bronx Zoo icon for 30 years and will be missed."

Mert was a fan favorite on the Animal Planet show The Zoo, and was dubbed by PEOPLE "The King of the Bronx Zoo" last year.

"Staff say he thought of himself as a human and he wasn't afraid to challenge other men," the magazine reported. "Apparently guys sometimes found Mert intimidating, but the ladies loved him. As the exclusive clip above from The Zoo shows, Mert closely bonded with one of the female keepers."

Following the announcement of his passing, Animal Planet released a video commemorating the famous bird.

Director of the Bronx Zoo, Jim Breheny, even felt compelled to give a statement regarding Mert's passing.

"Recently, Mert's quality of life began to deteriorate and we made the decision to euthanize him. We will miss seeing Mert waddling around as if he owned the place; and in reality, he owned the hearts of millions," Breheny said.

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The Zoo, which airs at 9 p.m. on Saturday nights on Animal Planet, will have a special episode dedicated to their deceased feathered friend in the near future.

Season two of The Zoo debuted back on March 10 as the network continues to show animals from one of the most famous zoos in the world. Some of the animals that will be featured in the ongoing second season include Asian small-clawed otters, Amani the female aardvark, a snow leopard, a slow loris, western lowland gorillas, American bison, Malayan tiger cubs and a Komodo drago.