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Protecting Yourself From Koi Carp Theft

28 June 2016

UK - Koi are one of the most expensive species of fish that you can choose to keep in your pond. The most influential koi pricing factor is the grade of each fish. Koi are assessed and separated into different grades dependant on their characteristics and overall potential. It is not unusual to find individual koi being sold for hundreds of pounds; in fact, some of the finest varieties of koi can fetch many thousands of pounds!

Unfortunately such a hefty price tag makes koi an attractive target for thieves and this, coupled with the fact that they are usually kept in garden ponds outside of the relative security of the home, makes them a particularly vulnerable to target.

In January of this year (2016) it was reported that between five and 20 koi carp were stolen from a home in Beckenham just before Christmas. The fish were believed to be worth more than £20,000.

Sadly, this story isn’t is at all unusual with numerous reports of koi carp theft from ponds across the UK each year. It has even been reported that criminals have utilised the Google Earth feature of Google Maps, which provides detailed satellite images of a given area, in order to pinpoint those homes with large garden ponds.

Putting aside the monetary value of koi carp for one moment, they are of course also much loved family pets. So what can be done to protect them?

While offering advice about protecting a pond if difficult simply because everyone’s pond is different, there are a number of general security tips that it is a good idea for any koi keeper to take on board.

Before even getting onto the subject of reviewing your garden security, it is vital to first establish whether your online presence is potentially putting your fish and pond equipment at risk. This might seem like a bold statement; however, the truth is that we live in a digital era and for many criminals, tools including forums and social media channels are used as a means of sourcing potential targets.

Many koi owners are rightly proud of their fish and pond and want to share pictures of them with other koi keepers. However, it possible for thieves to also find personal information such as street names, or even full addresses. With that in mind, before sharing your pictures online, stop and think, could I potentially be advertising my pond to potential thieves? If the answer is yes, then it really isn’t worth the risk.

When it comes to securing your garden, taking practical measures such as securing fences and gates with good quality locks is always a great starting point. Adding CCTV serves not only as an excellent deterrent for would-be thieves, but also enables you to monitor wildlife activity in around or your pond. Unfortunately nature also has its own thieves often found in the form of herons!

If you have a relatively small pond and are away from home fairly often then it may also be worth purchasing a grille that can be fitted over the pond and locked down during those periods when you are away. This is quite an extreme measure; however, it may provide piece of mind.

When it comes to the fish themselves, it is useful to take at least one good quality photograph of each of your koi. This will help you to identify them, regardless of whether or not thieves have attempted to conceal their identity by spraying them as patterns or distinguishing features will always remain visible to a certain extent.

Another option to consider is microchipping your koi. While microchipping of cats and dogs is common place (for dogs it is compulsory), it is still very much open to debate as to whether it worthwhile having your koi microchipped. Microchipping includes implanting a very small electronic device that contains a unique number which can be read by a scanner and cross-referenced with a data base to identify the owner. The scanners used to read the microchips are held by the police, council dog wardens, vets, dog pounds, animal welfare centres, and animal charities so should your koi ever come into the possession of one of these groups, then can be scanned and returned to you.

Some might argue that if your koi are stolen, then sadly, they are unlikely to be recovered by one of these groups alive. However, there always a chance, be it slim, that they might were this situation to unfold, no doubt any owner would ecstatic to receive a call saying they had been found.

While it is impossible to ensure the absolute safety of any pet that lives or ventures outside, thinking about what information you share online, reviewing your current garden security as well as taking steps to ensure that your koi can be traced back to you, can help keep your koi safe and provide you with piece of mind. Visit Swell UK for more information about caring for koi as well as koi keeping equipment.

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