The Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden is a popular tourist attraction in Vancouver. The outside space is also much-loved by the locals. Creating a peaceful haven in the city, the garden is of important cultural significance and features a treasured collection of mature koi. It was modelled on the Ming Dynasty scholars’ gardens in Suzhou and is located in Vancouver’s Chinatown district. This was the first such garden to be built outside of china.
Rogue Otter on the Loose
Unfortunately, a rogue river otter gained access to the famous formal garden and began eating the koi. Ironically, people who tour the garden are not permitted to eat during their visit! They are not allowed to feed or touch the koi either.
It looks like the Otter forgot to read the rules of the garden!
The errant otter quickly discovered the prized koi carp and then proved to be adept at evading capture. Officials at the garden did not know how the poacher managed to gain access and worked with the city’s park board and aquarium to capture and then safely relocate the animal.
Half of the koi have disappeared
The otter is thought to have eaten 11 fish which were living in the garden. It has helped itself to the seven fish in just a few days. The staff have been distressed by the loss of the fish which they considered to be members of the team. The fish have been resident at the garden for decades.
One of the eaten koi had been named Madonna and was believed to be 50 years old. Visitors get to know the individuals at the garden and so the loss of the fish has caused great sadness.
The Chinese garden is adjacent to a public park and both were closed to help with the operation to contain the otter. A relocation expert was hired to capture the otter and transport it to the Fraser Valley in south-western British Columbia. But it disappeared. Meanwhile, staff at the garden installed grates and tighter closing doors to ensure that the otter, dubbed Elvis, could not return.
Trapping the otter
An initial attempt to trap the otter was unsuccessful when the trap failed because a hinge was blocked by a tree branch. The animal was able to exit the trap having feasted on the bait! The bait in question was some tasty tuna, trout and chicken, all of which were taken by the Otter.
A series of traps was then set around the garden and the park next door. Both staff and visitors began looking forward to the day when everything could return to normal.
Eventually, officials declared that Elvis has left the building! The new security measures will prevent his return.
On a happier note, when staff drained the pond to rescue the surviving koi, they were surprised to find 344 juvenile koi in the murky ponds. The youngsters will secure the future for the prized fish which are symbolic of perseverance, strength and transformation.