River otter finds buffet of koi fish in Vancouver’s Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden

A wayward, hungry otter who moved into the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver is eating the attraction’s valuable koi fish.

The animal, identified as a river otter, was first spotted Saturday in a pond shared by the garden and the adjacent public park. Staff say it has eaten at least five of the dozen adult koi.

But a prized female koi name Madonna who has lived at the garden for two decades doesn’t appear to have been a victim of the ravenous otter…yet.

Otter still at large at @vangarden pond eating koi fish. We don’t know how it got into the garden. staff hoping to trap it and re-locate it to a new home in .

Over the weekend, the river otter was spotted in the pond shared by the Garden and the adjacent public park.

We ask that the public not feed the otter, and as always, strongly urge against any release of wildlife into the pond.

The garden, which is located in Vancouver’s Chinatown and is one of the city’s top tourist attractions, said a trap has been set up by the pond.

The garden is also consulting with the Vancouver Aquarium on possible koi protection options while the otter is around.

 The kois are part of our team so it’s quite devastating for us,” said communications director Debbie Cheung to CBC. “But at the same time the otter is looking for food, right? We don’t want to blame the otter.”

“The five bodies we’ve seen so far isn’t her,” she said. “She’s been with us for 20 years and it would be very sad if we lost her.”

It’s not known where the otter came from or how it found its way to the walled-in garden, although Burrard Inlet to the north and False Creek to the south are both less than one kilometre way.

The public is being asked not to feed the otter.


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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers


  1. I like the otter, so I wrote a little poem about it:

    Little otter, Koipotter,
    Loved the China Town,
    He took his strolls,
    Among the stalls,
    Of veggie, herbs and shoppers.
    When sun would set,
    He never slept,
    But fished among the waters,
    Of Dr.Sun’s magical land,
    Filled with ponds and fish so grand,
    That stunned Koipotters little mind.
    For, what he found,
    In wintertime,
    Will fill his little tummy.
    So…he fished and hummed,
    While he dined,
    On Koi so fresh and yummy.

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