The park adjacent to historic Colchester Castle features a pond which is home to dozens of koi. But this month many specimens were lost following an act of mindless vandalism.
The Imola Garden Pond
The Imola Garden Pond was in need of repair and so the fish were transferred to a holding tank so that the pond could be drained. After the park closed to the public for the evening, intruders broke in and slashed the holding tank with a knife. Most of the water escaped and 45 of the fish died including all of the oldest and rarest koi. Most of the lost fish were around 30 years old.
Koi Receive Mouth to Mouth Resuscitation
The park’s staff only discovered what had happened the next morning and managed to save some of the fish. Park rangers even resorted to mouth to mouth resuscitation in an attempt to save the koi. The staff were extremely distressed as they had developed a great affection for the fish, many of which had been living in the pond for several years.
Police on the Case
The koi had been a popular attraction in the park and were greatly admired by visitors young and old. Will Quince, Colchester’s MP, has expressed his disgust at the intruders’ actions and appealed for witnesses to come forward with information to assist the police enquiry. Essex Police have arrested two people in connection with the unfortunate incident but one, a 16-year-old boy, was later released without charge.
The Surviving Koi
Koi carp are famously good at surviving without water for extended periods but the fish were left high and dry for most of the night. More may well have perished had the incident not occurred quite late in the year. The colder weather means that the koi’s metabolisms would have slowed down and so they required less oxygen in order to survive in air.
New water tanks have been established to house the surviving fish whilst repair works are carried out to the pond. The park’s management have not given any indication as to whether new fish will be acquired.
Colchester Castle is well worth a visit if you are in the area. The castle features the largest Norman keep to have been constructed in Britain. The castle was built on the site of a Roman Temple at the order of William the Conqueror and was completed in 1076. It has served as a Royal residence and as a prison. In addition to the attractive gardens surrounding the castle there is also a museum on site.