A couple from Thetford in Norfolk have scrapped their prized ornamental pond after 200 fish were eaten by an otter. Linda and Alan Brown, both 60, say the 6,000 gallon pond contained about 150 goldfish and 50 other fish - some of which the couple had owned for 25 years. The pond was home to goldfish, koi carp, mirror carp and ghost carp - some weighing up to 25lb. But when the couple returned home after a month-long visit to see their daughter in New Zealand last week - they found that an otter had treated itself to a free meal. Their neighbour had been left to clear up the half-eaten, rotting fish that were left sprawled on the decking that surrounded the pond. Now Linda and Alan have removed the pond - because they don't want to give the otter anything more to eat.
– Linda Brown
People would come and bring their children to see all the fish and the wildlife. It was devastating for us because they were so beautiful and had been a part of our life for 25 years now. We had a good fence around the pond, a net over the top, but there is no way you could stop an otter getting in. Some of the larger fish like the koi and the other colourful carps altogether could be worth around the #10,000 mark. Money isn't the issue though, we loved these fish and they had been a part of our lives for so long. It's just really devastating."
The Otter population plummeted towards extinction across most of lowland England in the mid 1970s. To improve the situation the Otter Trust in Norfolk released a number of the animals into the wild between 1984 and 1997 - with the approval of the various conservation bodies around at the time. An Environment Agency spokesman said there had been no reintroductions since 1999 and that the rise in otter numbers is down to the otter's natural recovery