Otter with a taste for koi fish still feasting in Vancouver's Chinatown and proving adept at evading authorities

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      The park board has shared plans for dealing with a pesky otter that's made itself at home in a pond at downtown Vancouver's Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

      According to a November 22 media release, the municipal body has engaged the services of a "wildlife relocation expert" who will catch the animal in a safe and humane manner.

      "When the otter is captured it will be transported to a location in the Fraser Valley that will provide it with the best habitat for a long and healthy life," the release reads.

      The park board says it sought outside help after failing to trap the animal on its own.

      "Park Board staff set up a live trap to catch the otter, which is huddled in a cave under the Jade Water Pavilion in the western half of the garden," the release explains. "Attempts to relocate the otter have been unsuccessful and the park board, in consultation with Ministry of Environment, is engaging the services of a wildlife relocation professional."

      As previously reported by the Straight (and enthusiastic media outlets from across Vancouver and the province), the otter was first noticed by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden staff on November 19. The park was subsequently closed and the city was notified and asked to assist with the animal's relocation.

      It quickly became apparent what drew the otter to the park. According to authorities, the carnivorous mammal was spotted feasting on the garden's expensive collection of koi fish.

      It however remains unclear how the otter found its way into Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. The park is located in East Vancouver's Chinatown, roughly half a kilometre from False Creek, the nearest natural-body of water, and more than a full kilometre from Crab Park, where the downtown core meets the Vancouver Harbour and Burrard Inlet.

      But Christopher Galer, a Vancouver resident who describes himself on Twitter as a "traveller, eater, husband, cook, sports junkie with a penchant for shoes," might have provided a hint with a photograph he posted on social media last Friday (November 16).

      "Wife and I just walking through Chinatown and there's a river otter on Carroll street," reads a message he wrote alongside a photo that appears to include the otter.

      "Wow, that the biggest f*ckin ferret I've ever seen!," another local resident said upon spotting the animal there, Galer added in another message shared on Twitter.