An elusive river otter has been exacerbating staff at a famous garden in Vancouver as it continues to evade capture and work its way through the garden’s beloved collection of fish.
Otters are adorable creatures that are hard to spot and even harder to catch, as officials at the Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver, Canada, are finding out the hard way. It is unclear how the creature first accessed the garden, but it is clear that he is planning to stay.
The BBC first reported this story about the hungry otter, who is believed to have already eaten seven of the garden’s 14 fish. They are not just any old fish, either. These koi carp are an integral part of the garden and are a very important cultural aspect of the tourist attraction, according to Debbie Cheung, the garden’s communications director.
The koi carp even have names, and one fish, “Madonna,” is around 50 years old and has been in the pond at the garden for two decades.
Cheung says they see the koi as “part of the team.”
The otter was first spotted lurking around the popular garden last weekend but has been playing a real-life version of whack-a-mole ever since. The Chinese garden even had to close on Friday in an effort to close in on the otter and contain it.
The garden is getting help from the city’s park board and aquarium to safely capture and relocate the otter to a more suitable environment. The park board has even hired an expert in wildlife relocation to help stop the animal from depleting the precious koi numbers any further. Once safely captured, the otter will be moved to the Fraser Valley in south-western British Columbia.
Keeping our fingers crossed that the river otter can be relocated to a more natural habitat as soon as possible – @ParkBoard set up a trap today and we are consulting with @vanaqua on possible koi safety options. pic.twitter.com/b0NlT2NWxB— Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (@vangarden) November 21, 2018
Howard Normann, the director of parks for the city of Vancouver, assured reporters that the otter will be moved to “a really nice new home” as soon as they manage to humanely catch it.
So far, the river creature has managed to outsmart the traps that have been set up for it and has instead simply feasted on the tuna, trout, and chicken that were used as bait. The garden is now stepping it up a level and is placing a series of traps throughout the grounds in the hopes that one of them will be successful.
The garden is a popular spot for tourists in Vancouver and is reportedly the first of its kind outside China. Staff – and the remaining seven koi carp - at the attraction are looking forward to seeing the otter returned to the wild and calm restored in the normally-peaceful garden.