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Vancouver's oldest koi, survivor of otter attacks relocated from Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

Last Updated Oct 8, 2020 at 7:07 pm PST

(Courtesy Vancouver Park Board)

Dragon Gate, a 34-year-old koi, survived two otter attacks when he lived at Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden

Vancouver's oldest koi has been relocated to a newly renovated pond at the Bloedel Conservatory

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver’s oldest koi, which survived a pair of otter onslaughts at the Sun Yat-Sen Chinese Garden has been moved and is adapting “swimmingly” to his newly-renovated home.

Dragon Gate is 34 years old and came to Vancouver for Expo ’86, according to Emily Schultz, spokesperson for the Bloedel Conservatory which welcomed the koi this week.

“He actually survived the two river otter attacks in 2018 and 2019, so quite amazing, and we’re really excited to have him,” she says.

“He’s believed to be the oldest koi in Vancouver.”

The 60-centimetre-long koi is apparently known for his tenacity due to surviving those attacks — with several scars on his back to show for it.


Eleven koi were killed when a stealthy otter snuck into the garden to feast on fish in 2018, including a 50-year-old named “Madonna.” Dragon Gate was moved out of the garden’s pond along with dozens of other fish before being returned once it seemed safe.

But it wouldn’t be Dragon Gate’s last brush with a clever carnivore. In 2019 six more koi were killed by a river otter.

No otter was ever captured, and no one knows if the two invasions were the work of the same creature.

Schultz says Dragon Gate should be able to enjoy the rest of his life without having to worry about an otter invasion.

“We’re very happy to provide a very safe home for Dragon Gate at the conservatory,” she says.

And since koi have a life-span of up to 100 years, Dragon Gate could have quite a few years ahead of him to enjoy his pond with nine other koi.

The conservatory is home to 150 free-flying birds and 500 exotic plants and flowers.

“He’ll be joining all of our feathered friends like the cockatoos and the finches and the canaries,” Schultz says.