A Chinese company is on the hunt for the world’s largest rubber duck, last seen Wednesday floating on a river in southwest China, the Wall Street Journal reported. The giant bath toy, standing 54-feet-tall and weighing one ton, is the work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, and has been touring the waters of the world since 2007.
But leaving the safe space of the bathtub to vacation on legitimate, bubble-less waters is not without risk — on display on the Nanming River, the duck was swept away by an evening torrential downpour despite being anchored to a 10-ton metal platform affixed to the bottom of the river by steel wires. Recently, heavy rainfalls have plagued central and southwestern China, causing destructive and fatal flooding.
Locals have joined in on the duck hunt, and one local station has announced to its listeners, “If you live along the river and see an 18-meter tall big yellow duck, please call 5961027.”
Fans of the duck — which has bred pirated duplicates — didn’t have to mourn its death for too long, however, as the bird’s understudy arrived from an authorized Taiwan maker only a few days after the mishap. There is no suspicion of fowl play (unlike last year, when eagles may have attacked another one of Hofman’s sculptures in Taiwan), and the giant water bird now joins its more petite compatriots in what may be a very, very long journey.
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