The idea that a pack of wild ducks will simply accept foreigners is kinda crazy. It just doesn't happen and many times they chase them off from food sources. Lets talk about food sources. That little duckling has gotten clean feed and water in bowl since it's first day of life. Now suddenly it's expected to forage for wild food. Food different then anything it's ever eaten before. Oh sure, they may have played the diving for peas game or even been given small goldfish in their water, but that does not compare to now having to find these things and chase them all on their own. Plus a sudden change in diet like that could upset their digestive system. Now they're sick, far from home and probably scared. Guess what? They miss you too!
Lets talk about the person who releases a pet into the outdoors. Do you know that in many states it's illegal? This goes for everything from dogs and cats to ducks and even fish! Some states have penalties that are simply fines. Other states are harsher with possible jail time and/or probation. Is this really worth it?
Now I'd like to address the other main problem of releasing an animal that you've raised from a baby. Most certainly they will die by predator. They don't know to not cross a road. They don't know what a snapping turtle is, a raccoon, opossum, an alligator or a snake, weasel etc etc. While the thoughts "there are other ducks in that pond so it must be safe" seems like justification, it's not. Neither is "it's just a local park, nothing will happen there". The ducks even in those local parks were taught by their wild mother to avoid predators, to stay off the roads and stay away from people. Yes, even people can be a danger to these defenseless ducklings. We've all heard the news stories of people being cruel to animals, why would ducks be any different? The worst part in this is that these ducks are used to people and they might even look to them for food. They don't know who's going to be nice and who's not. If you check any of the bg chicken forums you'll see horror stories of dead ducklings...some within minutes of being released.
I guess as someone that has always considered my animals needs first, I'm very saddened by these actions. Do they have any idea how easy it is to find a good home for these poor quackers? Try posting on Craigslist, putting a sign up at the feed store or try an ad in the local farming paper. They could find an auction to take them to, or a local poultry swap. There are literally dozens of options that don't end in certain death. Even taking them to a butcher would be better then these poor sad creatures starving to death in the wild. I guess some people only think of themselves, or have an idealized daydream of life in the wild. I don't know, but it breaks my heart....and I'm sorry to bring such a sad post to you, but this close to Easter it weighs heavy on my mind.