Nov. 2 (UPI) -- Parks and wildlife officials in New York said an exotic Mandarin duck in Central Park will be left alone to live its life in the park.
City park rangers initially said the duck, first spotted in late October, would be captured for its own safety, but Urban Park Ranger John McCoy said a few days of observation have led officials to believe the duck is comfortable living in Central Park.
"The animal, from what we've seen and heard, is healthy. It's able to fly, it's able to feed, and it seems to be social with the other water fowl in the park," he tolf Gothamist. "So, there's no risk of anything bad or negative happening, and the animal itself isn't hurt, from what we can see. So right now we're going to leave [it] alone."
The bird quickly drew attention after initial sightings due to its unusual coloration and the rarity of spotting Mandarin ducks in North America.
McCoy said officials still aren't sure of where the duck came from.
"A lot of people dump animals in the park, which is unfortunate... For example, red-eared sliders, they're not a native species of turtle, but they're a common house pet, and people will just put them in the park when they don't want them anymore," McCoy said. "And that's a bad thing."
"So we're guessing the same thing happened with this bird," he said.
Rangers said the duck has a band on its leg, but no one has come forward claiming to be the animal's owner. Ducks are not legal to keep as pets in the state.
McCoy said officials will likely go back to their capture plans if the duck shows any signs of injury or illness.
"We don't go around removing all the [red-eared] sliders from the park. However, if we find one that's injured or wounded we're gonna find a home for it, we're gonna bring it to one of our partners, [and] find a place where it can live the rest of its life," he said.