November 25, 2018 5:23 pm
Updated: November 25, 2018 5:47 pm

Koi clearout underway as voracious Chinatown otter proves elusive

WATCH: Vancouver Park Board brings in expert to deal with hungry otter


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.

READ MORE: Emus, wallabies and cheetahs, oh my! Chinatown otter joins B.C.’s pantheon of viral critters

“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.

One koi has been rescued from the pond and transferred to the Vancouver Aquarium for safekeeping.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

“We managed to save one, and we asked the Vancouver Aquarium to take care of that one koi.”

Cheung said staff believe there may be three remaining koi alive in the pond.

She said whether Madonna, the garden’s 50-year-old koi was among the survivors remains unclear.

WATCH: Otter loose in Vancouver’s Classical Chinese Garden feeding on expensive koi

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“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.”

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.

READ MORE: There’s an otter eating koi out of the ponds at Vancouver’s classical Chinese garden

The gardens remain closed to the public while what has become dubbed #otterwatch on social media unfolds.

Cheung said another update on the situation would be provided on Monday.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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