A couple have spoken of their devastation after an otter killed their special prize fish.

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Linda and Alan Brown, from Thetford, returned from holiday to discover an otter had visited their 6,000-gallon pond with devastating results.

The couple, who are both 60, had about 150 goldfish and 50 other fish which had been born and raised in their pond at their Haling Way home. They also had koi carp, mirror carp, ghost and more.

Some of their special prize fish were more than 25 years old and weighed about 28lb.

The otter had left the fish half eaten or bitten, causing tens of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Mr and Mrs Brown were left so “heartbroken” that they have now removed the pond from their garden.

Mrs Brown, who works for Music Sales in Bury St Edmunds, said: “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.

“We will not see the same wildlife visiting our garden any more because we are not giving the otter another chance to kill or mutilate any more fish.

“We will miss the ducks visiting our pond, the kingfishers sitting on the fence, the heron, standing on the decking and the dragonflies, frogs, newts, snakes and many others who come to our pond. So much for someone’s wonderful idea of reintroducing otters into the rivers so we can see more wildlife.

“It won’t be in our garden now and maybe others gardens after the otter has visited their ponds.”

As recently reported in the Eastern Daily Press, otters have been spotted in the Little Ouse in Thetford.

Otter populations crashed to near extinction across most of lowland England by the mid 1970s. To help the situation, otters were released by the Otter Trust in Norfolk between 1984 and 1997 with the approval of the statutory conservation bodies existing at the time.

But an Environment Agency spokesman stressed there had been no reintroductions since 1999 and that the reintroductions had played a modest role in the otherwise natural recovery of the otter.

There is a national pot of money available to contribute towards the cost of electric fencing at fishing clubs where it is seen as the best option to protect fish stocks.

12 comments

  • It's a bit off to call the "alleged" otter a killer in the headline. Otters are predators, it's what they do. It is a great shame that the fish have been lost, but it does seem a bit like cutting your nose off to spite your face to fill the pond in and then say we won't have any wildlife to look at. If they are going to miss looking at all those species that are in and around the pond, then why not leave it there and continue to enjoy them.

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    crunchy dick

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Me too. No proof that this is otters-the place is not exactly immediately adjacent to the river and nothing to say when this couple went on holiday. If there was a freeze while they were away their fish could have been dead and then eaten by rats heron or foxes. Nor is there anything to say that mink were not the culprits. No aspersions on the pond owners, but I wonder if one of them is a member or fan of fishing clubs or pond owners clubs who seem to be waging war in the media upon one of a still rare native species. And yes a proper close pale fence with a gate would probably have been a solution and no more trouble to erect than a bridge. The EDP should look at the sensationalism of their headlines in these cases and see how they contrast with articles about hedgehogs and seals and also question the motives of those feeding them information.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Seems a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to me. Mr & Mrs Brown could still enjoy the wildlife that visited their pond by keeping it and not stocking it with ornamental fish. In fact it would probably be better for wildlife if it weren't stocked. Still, it's a free country etc etc

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    Betty Swallocks

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • 'Killer Otter'? Surely it should just read 'Otter' (doing what it does naturally). Not that I'm some over-the-top animal-hugger, but come on...

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    lockers

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Otters belong. Koi carp don't.

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    Thoreauwasright

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

  • Don't understand why they are filling in the pond if they love wildlife so much. I would sooner have an otter visiting my garden along with all the other native species of bird and amphibian. In fact, I would stock the pond with native fish just to encourage that sort of biodiversity. Then I'd build a decent hide and rent it out to naturalists by the hour.

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    Huw Sayer

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Not exactly native wildfowl kept in that pond was it? I'm on the side of the otters.

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    JCW

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • And as for the little plastic lined pond -the benefit for wildlife would be minimal. If these people really like wildlife they would appreciate the beauty of the otter and its place in the natural environment in the river, along with all the other creatures the chap mentions. I am no bunny hugger but these pond owners and fishermen who want to kill otters are keeping fish in an unnatural environment and where fishing lake owners are the culprits the fish are being caught from an unnatural environment for the advantage of no one except the proprietors- ie no food for human consumption is being produced. The EDP is way out of line with their reports here,we should be pleased that otters have struggled back from the brink. If they have to carry articles like this they should at least ask the question of whether footprints and kill styles prove conclusively that otters and not mink have been feeding.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • They will miss the Kingfishers and herons?? What do they think THEY eat?? Sugar puffs and weetabix??

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    Lord Elf

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Norfolkhawker is of course correct about the value of ponds but way off the mark by using the term natural ponds. Very few Norfolk ponds are natural apart from those such as at East Walton etc.which are glacial. Most of our Norfolk ponds were dug as marl pits in the 18th and 19th C for the land , clay pits for brick or lump or for farm water ponds for watering stock .Either Percy Trett or Ted Ellis once wrote an article in the EDP about how farm ponds were made- layers of puddled clay, straw and lime to kill worms which would have burrowed through the clay. Many of those I knew as a child have gone-filled in to make cultivation easier or to build over-I sometimes wonder if one or two home owners know their houses are atop where cattle were watered when I was small. Those wanting to make natural ponds, including the so called naturalist twits up at Bacton Woods who seem to think digging a hole in sand will work, should find the article. One thing is sure, otters are natural and are native and rightly protected.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • How I wish that Mr and Mrs Brown would re-consider the filling-in of their pond. When so many natural ponds are being lost to pollution or neglect, garden ponds are vitally important to native species such as frogs, toads, newts, Grass Snakes, dragonflies and damselflies. It's not necessary to have fish at all .... just reserve the pond for native wildife. It's not only interesting to study these creatures in your own garden, but also very important to provide these mini unofficial nature reserves when so much of the 'real' countryside is being lost.

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    NorfolkHawker

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

  • Otters eat fish, agree with Norfolkhawker, try again and cover pond with a metal grid.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Saturday, February 2, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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