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Koi-eating otter at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden continues to evade capture

Last Updated Nov 23, 2018 at 6:25 am PST


Six koi fish have been eaten so far at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

Three traps set up, in the hopes of catching the elusive critter

'Chinatown Otter' surfaces on social media, taunting the Vancouver Park Board and others on Twitter

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The river otter that has been snacking on valuable koi fish at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden in Vancouver remains on the loose.

The Vancouver Park Board has been trying to catch and remove the furry creature and has moved a trap closer to its “home base.”

“We’ve also located the feeding lair, where it’s taking its catch and devouring that,” Howard Normann with the Park Board said.

Three traps have been set up and stocked with some tasty treats — including salmon, tuna, and chicken. The largest has been strategically placed near an area where it’s believed the otter has been digging and making himself a den.

“The guess is it’s probably living in the den and it’s going to the feeding lair on the other side,” Normann said.

On Thursday, Debbie Cheung with the garden said not only has the otter evaded capture, it also appears to have snatched the bait. The meat was gone from one of the traps when staff arrived Thursday morning.

Some of the koi in the garden are over 50 years old. So far, six have been eaten.

“I feel really sad that we are losing our koi but at the same time, the otter is really smart,” Cheung said. “I hope that he is full from eating the bait and doesn’t go after our fish.”

The Park Board says it will not be relocating the remaining fish, but will be setting up motion detector cameras.

How the otter arrived in the tranquil, walled garden remains a mystery but Vancouver resident Chris Galer has offered a clue.

He has a photo of an otter he spotted scampering across streets in Chinatown on Friday night before it disappeared in bushes, barely a block from the Sun Yat-Sen enclosure.

“It was clearly an otter,” Galer said, adding his wife didn’t believe him until they both saw it as they crossed another street.

The public side of the park remains shut down. If caught, the otter will likely be taken to Stanley Park.

‘Chinatown Otter’ surfaces on Twitter

Meanwhile, someone has created a social media account for the pesky otter on the loose.

On Twitter, @ChinatownOtter has been taunting the Park Board, as well as Andrea MacPherson with CityNews Vancouver, who did a story on the critter on Wednesday.

– With files from Andrea MacPherson