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Murder most fowl? Giant rubber duck bursts in Taiwan

Story highlights

  • Giant rubber duck deflates 11 days after arriving in Taiwan's Keelung City Harbor
  • Locals speculate weather or birds to blame for demise of art installation by Dutch artist
  • Officials promise a new rubber duck will be installed as soon as possible

A giant yellow duck on display at Taiwan's Keelung Port is finding little to be happy about this New Year's Day.

The famed 18-meter inflatable art installation, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, burst and deflated on Tuesday, leaving locals shocked and disappointed.

The duck's demise came only 11 days after it arrived in Keelung City Harbor, the latest in a multi-city Taiwan tour for the celebrity bird.

There are multiple theories as to what led to the New Year's Eve tragedy.

Murder most fowl? According to Taiwan media reports, one tourist claims she saw what looked like an eagle scratch the rubber duck with its talons.

If that's indeed the case, jealousy could very well have been the motivation behind this unprovoked attack.

Meanwhile, a meteorologist speculates an unseasonal dose of sunshine may have overheated the duck, disrupting its internal pressure after weeks of cold, rainy conditions, leading to its rupture.

"We want to apologize to the fans of the yellow rubber duck," said Keelung City Council Speaker Huang Ching-ta while addressing media.

"We haven't found the cause of the burst. We will carefully examine the duck to determine the cause."

(Photos of the damaged duck can be viewed on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo.)

Fortunately for fans, the city says it plans to borrow another copy of the floating art installation, due to be installed by Saturday at the earliest.

More: Giant duck conquers Taiwan

A turbulent past

Versions of the famous duck have previously taken up temporary residence in cities all over the world, including Beijing, Osaka, Sydney, Sao Paolo and Amsterdam.

After stirring up a craze in Hong Kong in May and June, followed by a two-month stint in Beijing, the 18-meter inflatable duck arrived in Taiwan in September.

It was docked at Kaohsiung City until October 20, before floating to Taoyuan then its recent spot in Keelung in northern Taiwan.

Tuesday's deflation is the latest in a string of unfortunate duck-related incidents.

In May of 2013, Hong Kong's version of the giant duck mysteriously lost its mojo one night, leaving its deflated yellow shell bobbing lifelessly in Victoria Harbour.

In late October, the Taoyuan version deflated then exploded during an attempt to re-inflate it.

In 2009 during a port call in Belgium, it was stabbed 42 times by a vandal.

"We don't know why the person did it," artist Hofman said in an earlier interview with CNN.

"But [the incident] brought the people of that town together. The community had a stake out at night and protected it and even the police looked after it. It shows that this piece of art means a lot to people in the vicinity of this work."

More: How the big rubber duck was born