Chinatown garden closed, traps set for koi-hungry otter
A river otter that's spent days gorging on prized koi at a traditional Chinese garden in Vancouver could soon be on a one-way trip to Stanley Park.
The hungry predator has already feasted on at least five of the 14 koi swimming at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden – the oldest of which is 50 years old – but staff are hopeful they'll be able to trap the otter Tuesday with help from the park board.
Parks director Howard Normann said capturing the furry interloper will be no easy task, in part because they still don't know just how it's been accessing the garden's koi pond.
"They're extremely smart," Normann said. "It's a large pond and there is lots of food … so it'll be kind of tricky to get the right bait at the right spot."
The park board will be looking at all potential entry points, including pipes and gates, and determining the best course of action.
It's also possible more than one otter is involved in the plunder. Normann said they usually travel in pairs or groups.
"Hopefully it's only one. We're not actually sure yet," he said. "We're going to keep the garden closed just so it stays quiet, because otters do not like activity from people, and we'll just hope for the best."
If captured, the otter will be transported to Stanley Park, according to Normann.
Debbie Cheung, marketing and communications manager for the garden, said it's been sad to see the koi killed off. Staff had been working to grow the fish population before the otter disrupted their plans.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sheila Scott and Angela Jung