Wildlife expert hired to capture hungry river otter
Officials with the Vancouver Park Board are hopeful a river otter with a strong appetite for valuable koi fish will likely be captured and relocated Friday or Saturday.
Three humane traps have been set at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden since Tuesday and each time, the otter managed to outsmart humans by eating the bait without getting captured.
“They’re pretty smart, we’re finding that out,” said Howard Normann, Vancouver’s director of parks.
He believes their trap didn’t work because one of the sticks likely jammed the door, preventing the enclosure from shutting.
Normann said the board will now move onto its back-up plan: hiring a contractor recommended by the Ministry of Environment who is an expert on relocating wildlife like beavers, mink and otters.
“They have a large four-by-four live trap and in that trap, they put bait. The otter would walk in, sniff the bait and step on a plate, which closes the back door,” Normann explained.
Once the animal is captured, it will not be released back into the city and instead will be relocated in the Fraser Valley.
“This is the best chance for a happy life for this otter: lots of food, lots of friends,” Normann explained.
The board also floated the idea of draining the pond and bringing the koi to the Vancouver Aquarium but determined the process would take about three days and the carp would be stressed.
Normann said half of the adult koi have already been eaten, leaving just seven in the pond.
The prized carp are worth up between $1,000 and $5,000, according to officials.
Visitors at Chinese garden first spotted the otter on Saturday and it hasn’t left since.
Both the public and private gardens at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen will be closed to ensure there is a higher chance the otter will go into the trap.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Ben Miljure