While many people claim various government programs aren't necessary, one of the cutest programs captured the hearts of Americans.
In Washington, D.C., a ramp was set up at the Capitol Reflecting Pool to make life a little easier for some of its smallest inhabitants.
Ahead of the hot summer weather, ducklings were welcomed to use the ramp as an entrance and exit to the pool.
However, a few weeks after its installation, many ducks met their maker only a short waddle away.
National Public Radio reported that since May 20, about 80 ducks were killed in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool, only about a mile away. On Friday, the National Park Service announced that autopsies of the ducks revealed their deaths were caused by “high levels of parasites that develop and grow in snails that live in the pool.”
National Park Service spokesman Mike Litters told D.C.'s WTOP-FM that it's likely only ducklings were affected because older ducks are “more developed” and their “bodies are perhaps resistant to a degree.”
Chemical treatments reportedly won't take care of the problem and as a result, the pool will be drained and cleaned. The Hill reported that the draining will begin on Sunday and after it's cleaned, will begin to be refilled on June 16.
Although there are deadly consequences for ducks, the parasite schistosome can have consequences for humans, as well, albeit far less serious. NPR noted that if the parasite comes into contact with a human it can cause an allergic reaction and rash, known commonly as swimmer's itch.
Since you need to touch the affected water, Park Service told NPR the likelihood of people contracting the parasite is “extremely low” because swimming or wading in the pool is banned.