Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Free Koi: Bring Your Own Net and Bucket!

So earlier this year, some misguided soul thought he would gift the world with 80 Koi fish bought from a pet store by adding them to the fountain at Meridian Hill Park on 16th Street in Washington, DC. Sadly, 20 died almost immediately. The 60 that lived will do what fish do when given a large space to fill, they spawned and soon there were several hundred more Koi inthe park fountain. (The park is Federal property and yes, this gentleman violated several laws with his ill-thought-out "gift.")

Now winter is approaching and the park fountain is drained so it does not get damaged in the freeze-thaw-freeze cycle, we area gardeners are all too familiar with. There are hundreds of small Koi needinga quick re-location to a new home.

The Washington Humane Society (WHS) has already spent one morning attempting to capture and re-locate many of the fountain fish. The Koi proved pretty elusive, so tomorrow at 10:00am (Wednesday, 11/30), the WHS will be back and the fountain will be partially drained to make fish capture a bit easier.

Michael Triebwasser, Humane Law Enforcement Officer at the WHS, is coordinating the rescue event. He says, "There are at least a couple hundred fish left of various sizes, ranging from an inch (and less) to 6-8 inches.  If you can give the fish a good home, you are more than welcome to take as many as you’d like."

If you have a backyard pond that can accomodate some rescued Koi, come on down with your net and a bucket to help out.

You can read more background about these fishy-tales at the Prince of Petworth blog here.

UPDATE: I went to the rescue and spent an hour sifting through algae-muck for the littlest of the fish. Boy, are my hands cold! I brought home 15 small ones -- half will go in my pond and the others to a friend's pond. I put up a photo album of the rescue event at facebook.com/WashingtonGardenerMagazine.

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