It appears ‘Otter Watch 2019’ is over almost as soon as it started.
The Vancouver Park Board says it has removed traps from the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen gardens, less than a week after a hungry otter chewed through six of the park’s koi fish.
“Things are back to normal there,” said parks director Howard Normann.
“There are no large koi left in the pond. There’s a few juveniles possibly, which could be anywhere from four to six centimetres — small, and not enough for an otter to survive on. There’s been no sign of the otter, and we’ve assumed that the otter has left the pond.”
The otter was spotted last Wednesday, prompting the board to drain the pond and evacuate the remainder of the fish.
Normann said the gardens have fully opened to the public once again.
Normann said it remains unclear whether 2019’s otter is the same animal that decimated the garden’s fish stocks last year, but that the incident has prompted the board to reconsider how it was securing park.
He said a metal plate welded on to the gate was meant to keep the area secure, but that its effectiveness will be reevaluated.
“We’re going to come up with a plan that’s going to better address the ability of an otter to enter the garden,” he said.
The latest otter incident comes almost exactly a year after the garden’s koi were first terrorized by a ravenous otter that ate its way through most of the mature fish population.
That rogue otter was never found, despite multiple traps and other attempts by park board staff and even a wildlife expert to snare the animal.
It managed to eat 11 of the garden’s prized koi, including a 50-year-old fish named Madonna.
The otter-vs-koi dynamic has become a major hit on social media, prompting the hashtag #OtterWatch2019 and dividing the public into two camps, #TeamOtter and #TeamKoi.
— With files from Sean Boynton