The Vancouver Park Board is getting serious about capturing that elusive otter.
A wildlife relocation expert is being brought in to help catch the animal, which made a new home for itself in the pond at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden a week ago and has since eaten about seven adult koi carp.
“I’ve heard everything from, why don’t you shoot the otter, to why don’t you keep bringing more koi here and keep feeding it,” said the city’s director of parks Howard Normann Friday.
“For us as a park board, it’s about looking after the otter to make sure it gets out of here safely.”
Normann said the expert being brought in, who specializes in otter behaviour, will set up a series of traps around the garden, with the expectation the otter will be caught by the end of Friday or as late as Saturday.
Previous efforts to catch the otter have come up short. At least three live traps have been set up around the garden, including one close to where officials believe the otter has set up its new den on the western side of the popular tourist attraction.
WATCH (aired Nov. 19): Otter loose in Vancouver’s classical Chinese garden feeding on expensive koi
Those traps have yet to pay off. Even worse, the otter appears to have been able to snatch the bait from one of those traps while evading capture. Normann said a malfunction with that trap prevented it from closing.
If the latest efforts to capture the otter prove successful, the plan is to relocate it to a yet-to-be-determined location in the Fraser Valley, rather than releasing it somewhere in Vancouver.
“The ministry of environment has recommended we take the otter out to the Harrison River or the Chilliwack or the Campbell, one of those locations,” Normann said.
“If we don’t act, the otter will stay here until all the koi are gone.”
The garden has said it has the safety of the remaining koi as its top priority, as koi carp are expensive and considered valuable to the garden.
“I feel really sad that we are losing our koi but at the same time, the otter is really smart,” said spokesperson Debbie Cheung.
“I hope that he is full from eating the bait and doesn’t go after our fish.”
WATCH: River otter eating koi fish at Chinese garden in Vancouver
—With files from the Canadian Press