Vancouver's Chinese classical garden still on lookout for koi-eating otter

There's been no sign of the mammal at Dr. Sun Yat-Sen garden while 300 juvenile koi and 3 adults continue to live at Vancouver Aquarium. 'They are safe,' says a garden official. 'I'm sure they are more relaxed.'

300 koi safely tucked away at Vancouver Aquarium

Koi swim in a tank at the Vancouver Aquarium in December 2018 after being removed from a pond at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in November. (Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/Twitter)

Vancouver's classical Chinese garden continues to keep its koi safely tucked away at the Vancouver Aquarium as officials watch for the return of a river otter that ate 11 of the fish.

Officials at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden on Carrall Street say, so far, there have been no sightings of the otter since the garden removed the fish at the end of November.

Deanna Chan, who speaks for the garden, says 300 juvenile koi and three adults are doing well and there is no time set for them to return to the garden's ponds.

There has been no sign of a river otter, like this one, at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese garden in Vancouver since the centre's koi fish were safely removed in late November 2018. (Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter)

"They are safe," she said. "I'm sure they are more relaxed."

She says the garden plans to have a formal update on the status of the koi returning to the garden by the end of January.

For a week last November, the garden and staff from Vancouver's Park Board tried to trap the otter, which experts believed came from False Creek.

Workers capture and remove koi from a pond at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver on Nov. 28, 2018. (Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden/Twitter)

Finally, after 11 of the culturally significant fish were eaten, the water level in the ponds were drained and the remaining koi were removed.

Metal panelling was also installed at one of the gates, to help keep the otter from entering.

A city worker reinforces the metal grate of a walled garden in downtown Vancouver to try to keep hungry otters out. (Yvette Brend/CBC)

The garden was closed for seven consecutive days beginning Nov. 22.

Since then, the garden has maintained its regular winter hours.