Otters strip Midsomer Norton ex-paramedic's pond of thousands of pounds of fish
A retired paramedic has spoken of his heartbreak after tens of thousands of pounds worth of fish were taken from his garden pond in just one night - by otters.
Mike Chivers, 72, has always been a nature lover and since retiring just two years ago after 43 years on the job has spent even more time transforming his garden in Midsomer Norton into a wildlife haven.
Included alongside the bird feeders, green corners, plants and trees at his home in St Chad’s Avenue is his beloved garden pond which until last week was brimming with life. Filled with frogs, snails and more than 45 fish, including 30 prize mature koi carp worth more than £500 each, it was the centrepiece of his garden.
He initially thought that thieves had cleared the pond of the fish but soon realised the wildlife’s disappearance was due to more natural predators.
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He said: “I think otters are to blame. Perhaps even a family of them.
“I had been up at about 3am and had a little look at the pond and saw nothing suspicious but when I woke it the morning there was absolutely nothing left.
“I even got in to see if one of my tiddlers had managed to survive under the weeds. Nothing. Just one frog poking his head up.
“Some of those fish I have had for more than 25 years and the smaller fish were the offspring of my originals. All that was left was a couple of scales around the edge of the pond. If I’m honest I was completely devastated.
“I have always been conscious of human thieves and have gates and security lights but if this had been humans they would have only taken the large valuable ones.”
It is the first time in 27 years that he has ever experienced problems, previously only seeing the odd kingfisher lunch at the watering hole.
Mike added: “I want to warn anyone else who has a pond to make sure it is covered if they don’t want to lose their fish. Since it happened I have gone out and bought 15 small ones because I could not bear to have an empty pond.
“It’s just a shame I won’t be around in 25 years to see them grown up like the old ones.”