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Momma's death: fowl play or old age? 

Momma, the 20 year-old mother goose of the Public Gardens died this week. Police and garden staff don't rule out foul play.

A prominent figure is missing from the Public Gardens. Mother Goose, called "Momma" by her friends, passed away this week under mysterious circumstances.

Momma was over 20 years old, which in goose years made her a senior citizen. Though she may have died of old age, Police and Gardens staff haven't ruled out foul play.

Groundskeepers found the goose sprawled out on the path by the South Park Street gate early Monday morning. Gardens staff called police to the scene, after seeing potential signs of trespassing, such as an overturned bench.

"There was some thought that sometime overnight, someone may have entered the gardens and killed the goose," says Halifax Regional Police constable Brian Palmeter.

"I've got my fingers crossed that nobody would do something that cruel," says gardener Sheldon Harper.

Police will investigate further if autopsy results determine that the goose died of unnatural causes.

Tracy Jessen, a gardener who fed Momma regularly, says caring for the goose was one of the highlights of the workday, especially after recently losing her dog. Jessen sometimes worried about Momma when she couldn't be with her.

"Earlier this spring some young kids were kicking her," says Jessen. "She's helpless. She's lovely, she's not aggressive. There's no reason."

To many of the gardeners, Momma was more than just a wildlife specimen. Wilson calls the goose "a good friend," and describes her as "peaceful," "gentle" and "always good-natured."

The chatty goose provided company for lone workers early in the mornings: "When I would come down in the morning...I'd yell over to her, 'Good Morning Momma,' and she'd always squawk back" says Harper.

Another groundskeeper remembers that "Momma loved being sung Zeppelin's 'Black Dog' and other songs with her name in them while she ate breakfast." —Lizzy Hill

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