Palm Beach Zoo brings 'Manny' the Mandarin Duck into the WPTV studio for a visit

A wild visitor to the WPTV studio may have been hoping to be a news anchor Ashleigh Walters' Valentine.

"Manny," a Mandarin Duck from the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, represents the Asian symbol of love and fidelity, because the pairs tend to stay together year after year, unlike most other species of waterfowl.

With the Zoo's special celebration of DragonFest: Celebrate the Chinese New Year & Year of the Horse, "Manny" was a fitting guest.

But Maura Powers, Animal Trainer for the Zoo, suspected "Manny" was showing off when he caught sight of news anchor's Ashleigh Walters. He began puffing up his head and feathers!

"I've never seen him do that before," said Powers. "In the years we've been training him, he has never shown that behavior."

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society hopes to educate the public that the Mandarin Duck has a local cousin that can be found in Florida, the Wood Duck.

Both of these waterfowl can be found in marshes and have the same diet.

When out hiking by marshes, ponds, or swamps, zoo staff urge people to always watch where you are stepping, and move quietly so you do not disturb a nesting female.

Duck eggs need to be incubated or warmed by the female at all times.

By protecting the wetlands, you can protect the waterfowl that live there, and you can protect wetlands by leaving the water in the habitat.

Conserving water is as simple as turning the faucet off while you are brushing your teeth, take quick showers, purchase energy efficient laundry machines and low flush toilets.

You can also write to your local mayor or politician to request information about how wetlands in your area are being protected.

Local governments play a key role in filling the gaps in wetland protection, because they have primary responsibility for local land use management.

Local action is particularly critical in states that do not have comprehensive wetland protection programs.

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