Koi rescued at Chinese garden in Vancouver; otter not seen since Saturday

VANCOUVER — The last two remaining koi and hundreds of juvenile carp have been removed from a classical Chinese garden in downtown Vancouver in an effort to thwart a stealthy river otter that has devoured 10 other ornamental fish.

Debbie Cheung, a spokeswoman for the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, says it took a joint rescue effort from staff at the Vancouver Aquarium and the park board to capture the remaining fish on Wednesday.

She says the two specially bred koi will join a third that was captured earlier for an extended stay at the aquarium, along with the juvenile fish.

Cheung says the otter hasn’t been seen since Saturday when she saw it slip out of the pond, but they don’t know if it has left the area.

The garden has been closed since the otter started gobbling up the expensive Koi more than a week ago.

Cheung says they hope to reopen the garden Thursday after koi scales and bones that were being found around the park have been cleaned up because the otter removed them before eating the fish.

“It’s very smart,” Cheung said. “We have pieces of scales on the rocks and there are bones. We’re hosing that, we’re cleaning everything, we’re looking for any remains.”

She couldn’t say what plans they have to return the koi to the pond.

“We were so focused on the rescue mission and also with getting the otter,” she said.

The drama has spawned several social media hashtags and the formation of hypothetical teams rooting for the success of either the otter or the koi.

If the otter is seen at the garden again and it is caught, there are plans to relocate it to the Fraser Valley outside the city.

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