The Province

Chinatown koi evacuation begins as otter rampage claims 10th fatality


Vancouver park officials have ordered an evacuation of Chinatown koi after a hungry river otter claimed its 10th victim over the weekend.

According to a Vancouver park board spokespers­on, a total of 10 expensive koi fish had been killed and eaten by the otter as of Sunday morning; previously there were 14 adult koi living in the ponds at Dr. Sun Yat-sen Park in Chinatown.

As a result, park officials have begun evacuating koi from the park’s ponds. To date, only one fish has been moved to the Vancouver Aquarium; koi also are difficult to capture so it remained unclear when the evacuation would be complete, though crews were working to relocate the remaining three fish.

The evacuation comes after an expert trapper was brought in late last week in an attempt to relocate the otter. Park officials had been hoping to avoid relocating the koi, as draining the pond and moving the fish could cause stress and possible damage.

But after the otter was able to evade a set trap, stealing the bait and prancing off unscathed, officials felt they were forced to move the remaining koi.

It remains unclear exactly when and where the otter moved into the park earlier this month, though its den has been located at the east end of the park. The park remains closed to the public until the otter can be relocated to the Fraser Valley, where it will be able to feast on salmon.

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