A hungry koi-eating otter has outwitted humans and managed to evade capture for five days while feasting on prized fish at a Chinatown garden.

On Friday, the Vancouver Park Board hired a wildlife relocation expert who specializes in beavers, mink and otters after its three humane traps failed. But the otter remains at large as more fish carcasses are found.

Ten koi have been found dead, while just four remain since the unwelcomed guest was first spotted at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on Nov. 17.

The valuable fish are worth between $1,000 and $5,000.

Over the weekend, the staff at the garden took drastic action to rescue the remaining koi by fishing them out of the water and bringing them to Vancouver Aquarium for safekeeping. 

“We are trying our best to save our remaining koi,” Debbie Cheung with the garden said.

Cheung said there have been several challenges to their latest endeavour: the water is murky because there is clay beneath the pond, current water levels are high, and the koi can swim “very fast” when it detects danger.

Now it’s the koi’s turn to evade human capture.

After spending several hours trying to rescue the fish, one was caught and taken to the aquarium.

Otter saga divides the city

As #OtterWatch2018 continues, people are declaring themselves to be either on Team Otter or Team Koi.

Chinatown Today, a group focused on highlighting Chinatown’s past and future stories, describes the saga has “the most unexpected Chinatown story in recent memory.”

It created merchandise for people to show their allegiances. The proceeds go to help Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.

The $2 buttons can be purchased at the Chinatown House on 188 East Pender Street or online.