Elusive otter evades authorities at Vancouver park

A wayward otter who is ravaging the prized koi population at a popular Vancouver park is proving to be a slippery customer.

Traps set as critter feasts on prized koi in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

Four humane traps have been set in Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, in hopes of catching a wayward otter that has been feasting on the park's koi. (Vancouver Park Board)

A wayward otter who is ravaging the prized koi population at a popular Vancouver park is proving to be a slippery customer.

However, staff say they are confident capture is imminent after the critter's den and eating lair were discovered near the gazebo of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, a manicured park that takes up roughly half a block in the city's Chinatown.

The otter has moved into the park, which takes up roughly half a block in the city's Chinatown. (Sadie Brown/Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden)

"I think we're making pretty good progress," said director of park operations Howard Normann. "We know where it's spending the majority of its time... so we're getting closer to making a relocation."

Four traps baited with fish oil and chicken have been set, including one right beside the den, he said. 

The otter's den and eating lair has been discovered near the park's gazebo. (Vancouver Park Board)

Unfortunately, the otter recently claimed a sixth victim.

On Wednesday morning remains of another fish were found near the park's pond, meaning the otter has now eaten half of the resident adult koi.

One of the otter's victims. Garden staff are consulting with the Vancouver Aquarium about removing the koi should the threat persist. (Vancouver Park Board)

The fate of a fish named Madonna — the garden's prized 50-year-old koi — is still unknown because of murky water, according to Sun Yat-Sen communications director Debbie Cheung.

Garden staff are consulting with the Vancouver Aquarium about removing the koi should the otter threat persist.

The animal appeared in the garden five days ago, soon after it was spotted on Carrall Street.

If captured, it will be relocated to the city's larger and wilder Stanley Park.