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Public Employee Press: PEP Talk


Local 983 protects Central Park duck

The sighting of a lone, exotic Mandarin duck nesting on Manhattan’s tony East Side — its adopted home for the last six months — continues to draw thousands of voyeurs and photographers to Central Park’s 59th Street pond.

Shortly after the technicolored bird mysteriously appeared in Central Park, it shot to fame on social media. The celebrity duck remains under the watchful protection of Local 983 Parks Enforcement Patrol Officers.

“Over the winter we kept curious birders and others from venturing out onto the frozen pond for a closer look, which could be dangerous,” said PEP Officer Sara Thompson.

“It’s the job of PEP Officers to enforce park rules and regulations so visitors can safely enjoy the parks,” said Local 983 President Joe Puleo. “They control the crowds and offer people directions and information about the park and its inhabitants.”

What birders and curious crowds hope to catch is a glimpse of the rare Asian duck. No ugly duckling, this knockout waterfowl has vibrant plumage of orange, copper and cobalt and a distinctive aubergine-feathered breast. He’s a handsome dandy who makes mallards pedestrian by comparison.

The mighty Mandarin survived a fairly mild New York winter undisturbed in the anonymity of the Big Apple as any A-list celeb would.