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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bronze Ducks Flying Home

Mrs. Mallard, Lack, Quack and Mack safely cleared customs at Sheremetyevo Airport on Tuesday.

Duckling Lack did not quack when he was pulled out of a cardboard box and cleaned of styrofoam. A replica of a bronze duckling from Robert McCloskey’s "Make Way for Ducklings" in Boston’s Public Gardens, Lack — and the three other ducks — will be installed anew in Novodevichy Park on Sept. 18. The ducks will replace sculptures mutilated by unknown vandals earlier this year.

Nine larger-than-life bronze ducks were presented in 1991 by then-U.S. first lady Barbara Bush to Raisa Gorbachev to commemorate the U.S.-Soviet START I arms treaty. One of the ducks, Quack, disappeared immediately after the sculpture was unveiled. And in February, Mrs. Mallard, Lack and Mack were sawed off at the knees and ducknapped. Only the orphaned Jack, Kack, Nack, Ouack and Pack remained.

But thanks to the efforts of two Massachusetts natives who work in Moscow — Elizabeth Hebert of the Moscow-based Pallada Asset Management investment firm and Jonathan Tarr, general director of Kimberly-Clark — Novodevichy Park will soon once again be graced with the presence of the entire Mallard family.

Hebert said she was crestfallen when she found out that the ducks had been stolen. "I felt personally responsible to do something to get the ducks back," Hebert said at a press conference Tuesday.

And she did. Hebert convinced State Street Bank, the principle owner of Pallada, to donate $30,000 for the replacements, Pallada spokesman Vadim Soskov said. Kimberly-Clark donated $12,000 and Sheraton Palace Hotel gave $1,000. Delta Airlines flew the ducks from Boston to New York to Moscow for free.

Cameras rolled at Tuesday’s press conference as a uniformed Sheraton employee carried the 16 kilogram Lack in a large cardboard box into a room at the hotel. Hebert tenderly picked a piece of white styrofoam from Lack’s open mouth.

"We trust that a good security system will be installed" at the park to prevent further acts of vandalism, Hebert said. Soskov said Pallada has asked the police who guard the park to keep an eye on the sculpture.

Moscow police said they were unaware of any duck security measures.

"Do you think that with the rate of rapes and murders we have now we will dispatch full-time police patrols to guard some ducks?" said city police spokesman Vladimir Vershkov.