The Make-A-Wish Foundation now has its ducks all back in a row.
After hundreds of little yellow rubber duckies belonging to Make-A-Wish were found mysteriously floating in Liberty Park pond last Thursday, foundation officials scoured their inventory to track the wayward ducks.Christine Sharer, executive director, said 330 ducks were taken from the Gallivan Center Wednesday afternoon. The charity foundation dedicated to providing wishes for terminally ill children was testing the "floatworthiness" of the rubber-billed creatures for the Rubber Ducky Derby, which will be Monday at Lagoon, she said.
The Gallivan Center is where the duck-napping occurred, Sharer said.
Apparently, when the faux fowl were piled into garbage cans to be hauled back to storage sheds, someone nabbed the first can containing the ducks numbered 1 to 330. The foundation has more than 15,000 numbered rubber ducks for the annual event.
"I think someone did it just for fun. I don't think anyone was being malicious," she said.
It is hard to say how much money the foundation lost when the ducks were taken, she said. "How do you figure depreciation on a yellow rubber duck?"
She said she did not know how or why the migration ended at Liberty Park.
Witnesses say the buoyant birds came into the park pond through the pipes. "This whole pond was yellow," said 15-year-old Dan Carlson, who had stashed about 35 ducks in his backpack Friday afternoon. "That pipe was just pouring out duckies."
But the only way the rubber ducks could have come through pipes is if the bathtub toys were dumped into streams at Sugarhouse Park, said Val Pope, park maintenance superintendent. There are no water pipes linking the Gallivan Center to Liberty Park, he said.
"I strongly suspect that someone just dumped them into the pond to make it a little more colorful," he said. "Doesn't sound like anyone did any harm. They were just trying to have fun."
Sharer said the ducks have been replaced and renumbered.
"It's still disappointing they were taken," she said.
Make-A-Wish expects to net more than $50,000 at the Rubber Ducky Derby, she said.