Turns out it’s not great to be a big fish in a little pond, at least for the koi at the Parkside Hotel and Spa in downtown Victoria.
For years the hotel had to combat other animals, and even people, preying on their fish, much like the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden in Vancouver has been doing this week with a voracious otter.
Parkside had to deal with an otter of their own a couple years ago, which came over from Beacon Hill Park, as well as a very stubborn blue heron.
“We were losing fish regularly,” said Trina White, Parkside general manager. “We tried adding tons of lily pads, but that didn’t work. We put out a protective net, but that didn’t work either because people were scared the heron would get caught.”
The hotel even put out a fake heron to try to deter other animals, but the jig was up pretty soon.
“The real bird discovered really quickly that it was fake, and it attacked it and killed it,” White said.
Overall, the otter probably nabbed about five fish, while the blue heron, which only visited about a month per year, got a dozen.
People also regularly harassed the fish by throwing rocks at them and poking them with sticks.
Finally, the hotel resorted to moving the large, expensive fish into their indoor pond and leaving the outdoor pond for the little fish, which otters and herons alike don’t find as appealing.
The big koi had to be moved very gently, since a lot of the time a move can be extremely traumatizing and often kill them. During the move, about a dozen big fish were saved, and now the collection has grown closer to 30.
“Ultimately, whether it’s a blue heron or an otter or people, really what we found is remove the food source and the issue is solved,” White said.
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