Page last updated at 15:45 GMT, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 16:45 UK
The Shropshire mystery of the mutilated koi carp
A mink
Could mink be the culprit in the mystery of Mrs Jones' carp?

Rosemary Jones has been keeping koi carp in her garden pond at Atcham near Shrewsbury for 25 years without any problems.

Now all 27 of her fish are dead and their remains have been scattered all over the garden.

She does not know what killed them and so far has been unable to find out, despite calling various agencies.

She said she had spent an hour on the phone but was no closer to identifying the culprit.

Mrs Jones asked the Department of the Environment, the Environmental Health Department and Shropshire Wildlife Trust: "I think it's mink, but I can't get anyone to listen."

She described the fish, which were between 5 and 8lbs in weight, as pets: "We've hand fed them since they were tiddlers."

An otter
The otter is not a likely suspect

Mrs Jones has ruled out a heron as the attacker: "This is not heron. These are absolutely shredded. They have been raked with claws. Their insides have been pulled out. Their heads have been pulled off."

The prime suspect, in her view, is mink: "Fishermen tell me they have been seen on the river bank.

"There is an otter under the bridge at Atcham... but I believe an otter would have killed a fish and taken it away and eaten it. This just killed for fun."

John Hughes from Shropshire Wildlife Trust agrees with Mrs Jones: "Mink get into a killing frenzy. I suspect her pool is not connected to a water course. Otters don't like to cross land."

He added that the attack sounded like typical mink behaviour: "Otters kill to eat. Mink do it for fun."



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