VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In the battle between otter and koi, it seems the slippery mammal is winning.
As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll has risen to 10. Garden staff captured one fish yesterday and relocated it. Three more are believed to still be alive.
As we continue to work with @ParkBoard to contain the otter, Garden staff spent Saturday trying to rescue the remaining koi in our pond. After several hours, we were able to get one koi to @vanaqua for safekeeping. We will provide an update tomorrow. #Otterwatch2018 #ChinatownYVR pic.twitter.com/mjnvUmji4k
— Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden (@vangarden) November 25, 2018
The one captured was not Madonna, a fish that is more than 50 years old and has been with the garden for more than 20 years
Debbie Cheung, communications for the garden, hopes she turns up.
“It was very difficult for us to tell. We know there are at least three koi still in the pond,” she says. “We can’t tell, with the remaining three, if one of them is her.”
Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Gardens employees performed the koi rescue themselves.
The fate of the rare, old koi Madonna is uncertain.
— Lauren Boothby (@laurby) November 25, 2018
Cheung said it was difficult to make the rescue because the water level is high and visibility is poor. Climbing into the pond stirs up the clay in the water, making it even more difficult to see.
The whole ordeal has been difficult for the Garden as the rare and valuable fish are picked off by the elusive river otter.
“We feel sad, but at the same time we don’t want to give up. We’re hopeful. So either we save more koi today, or the otter gets relocated.”
So far the otter has evaded captors.
“Not much luck. It’s still on the loose,” she says. “We’re still doing our best to try to save our remaining koi.”
Fundraiser to replenish the pond to be launched soon
Now the Garden is planning a fundraiser to help raise money to replace the depleted pond. They are expected to give more information on the initiative tomorrow.
Another group previously launched a button campaign with #TeamKoi and #TeamOtter buttons with net proceeds to be donated to replenishing the pond, but the Garden has said they prefer those fund be directed to wildlife preservation instead.