According to a Vancouver park board spokesperson, a total of 10 expensive koi fish have now been killed and eaten by the otter as of Sunday morning; there were previously 14 adult koi living in the ponds at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Park in Chinatown.
VANCOUVER, B.C.: NOV. 24, 2018 â Staff at Vancouver Chinatowns Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden are pictured on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 attempting to capture and relocate one of four remaining koi fish. The gardens koi have been under attack from a hungry river otter who moved into the garden earlier this month. DR. SUN YAT-SEN GARDEN / TWITTER / PNG
As a result, staff at the Chinatown park have begun evacuating koi from the park’s ponds. On Saturday, crews moved in to attempt a rescue of the remaining koi.
So far, only one fish has been moved to the Vancouver Aquarium for safekeeping; koi are also difficult to capture so it remains unclear how long the evacuation will take though crews are working to relocate the remaining three fish. The one relocated koi took “several hours” to capture on Saturday, due to poor visibility in the water.
Lapprend said people appear to be fascinated by the story in part because it’s a battle of wits similar to a Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner cartoon, in which the coyote can never quite catch his prey despite trying increasingly ridiculous schemes.
A river otter that has made it into the Dr. Sun Yat-sen Classical Chinese Garden is devouring the parks huge koi. Nikki Bennett / PNG
The evacuation comes after an expert trapper was brought in late last week in an attempt to relocate the otter. Officials had been hoping to avoid relocating the koi, as draining the pond and moving the fish could cause stress and possible damage.
But after the otter was able to evade a set trap, stealing the bait and prancing off unscathed, officials are now forced to move the remaining koi.
It remains unclear exactly when and where the otter moved into the park earlier this month though its den has been located at the east end of the park. The park remains closed to the public until the otter can be relocated to the Fraser Valley, where it will be able to feast on salmon.
The Garden will remain closed tomorrow, Saturday, Nov. 24. We thank you for your support and understanding while we continue to work through this unexpected situation. #ChinatownYVR pic.twitter.com/645rgK5Wku
Vancouver residents have begun to declare themselves “Team Otter” or “Teaam Koi” as an elusive otter feasting on expensive fish in a tranquil garden pond continues to evade capture.
Staff at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens haven’t seen the ravenous river otter that’s been chewing its way through a stock of valuable koi fish this weekend, but they know it’s there.
The hungry critter has eaten three more of the fish, bringing the total casualties to 10, and on Sunday, staff said they were desperately trying to rescue the rest.
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“It’s very frustrating. We actually went into the water [Saturday] trying to save our koi. It was very difficult because at the bottom of the pond there’s a bed of clay and it’s hard to see,” said garden spokesperson Debbie Cheung said.
“We managed to save one, and we asked the Vancouver Aquarium to take care of that one koi.”
Garden staff discussing options Saturday to remove the koi from the pond to keep them safe, but Normann said it’s not as easy as it sounds.
She said whether Madonna, the garden’s 50-year-old koi was among the survivors remains unclear.
“We don’t. It was very difficult to see, we were only able to see from far away when they swim, and when we got closer they swim away really fast. They’re very stressed out at this moment.”
The garden has remained closed since the otter set up shop and once it’s captured the plan is to relocate it to the Fraser Valley.
Cheung added that staff are usually able to call the koi using a gong, but in their stressed-out state, the fish are not responding.
The gardens remain closed to the public while what has become dubbed #otterwatch on social media unfolds.