Five orphaned ducklings were rescued from a pond in Central Park, New York City, on Thursday (May 21)after their mother was killed.

The mallard ducklings, said to be about a week old, were rescued by the park rangers after the mother duck was killed by a snapping turtle Wednesday.

The ducklings were reportedly seen swimming with their mother around the Central Park Pool on Tuesday. However, their mother was killed the following day, leaving the defenseless ducklings to look after themselves.

The rangers tried to rescue them Wednesday, however, they were unsuccessful as the baby birds were too quick.

"Our concern is that they are so young, they might not be able to survive on their own," said Ranger Ashley Whited. "They are pretty fast and pretty smart."

On Thursday afternoon, they successfully managed to lure the ducklings with food and capture them with a net after several failed attempts.

The ducklings were then put into a box in order to keep them safe and warm and were transferred to Wild Bird Fund, a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation facility.

“They are little tiny guys, just a week old,” said Rita McMahon, the director of Wild Bird Fund. “They seem OK, probably traumatized, but no damage.”

“If we are very lucky ... we get a hen and they will have a surrogate mother,” said McMahon. “It was a great job that the rangers did. I think it’s a wonderful distraction. People have to see life that’s unaffected by COVID-19, and that’s nature.”

The ducklings will be staying at the rehab facility for about 45 days after which they will be released to Central Park once they are ready to survive on their own.

A new study on ducklings suggests that animals, not generally believed to be especially intelligent, are capable of abstract thoughts. Reuters