Animal rescues tend to focus on dogs and cats, and there are organizations dedicated to their housing and rehoming.
In southeast Louisiana, when it comes to koi, there’s Ariane Trammel.
As a portrait and mural painter, children’s book author and illustrator, and mother of two, it’s not like Trammel isn’t busy enough. But when people decide they can’t keep the colorful fish anymore, this woman from Ponchatoula is likely to get the call. This happens about every two months.
“I don’t have a rescue organization,” Trammel said. “It’s really just me.”
Eight years ago, Trammel built a koi pond and wanted to learn more about keeping fish, so she started attending Deep South Koi and Pond Society meetings in Baton Rouge. At the third meeting it was time to elect new officers and Trammel was elected president.
“The majority of the group were older couples who are retired. There were very few people my age – at the time I was around 30 – who were in the band and I guess had the energy to lead the band,” she said. . “I really thought they were joking.”
This was not the case, and Trammel worked to raise the group’s profile, creating a website and Facebook page, revamping the logo, and hosting koi shows. An unexpected job came when an elderly man from Port Allen called. He could no longer keep up with his overcrowded pond. This can be a problem with koi ponds. Koi breed, and if the pond is not properly managed, there are so many fish that the water quality suffers.
“He had about 60 fish, and it got to the point where he couldn’t sustain it anymore,” Trammell said. “He was alone and the fish were starting to die. The water quality had become so bad.
Trammell recruited club members to join her in catching and moving the koi. The volunteers kept some for themselves and found homes for others. A person brought a horse trailer, and they caught the fish and put them in fresh water in large plastic bags before taking them to their new homes. And not a moment too soon.
“The water was just black. It was absolutely nothing but mud,” she said. “We couldn’t see the fish to scoop them up with the net. , holding nets, and I was neck deep in muddy water, reaching out and grabbing these koi by hand.
When she became pregnant with her second child, she reduced her attendance and eventually stopped dating. However, locals researching koi on the internet always found his name and email ([email protected]) when they had koi they no longer wanted. She continued to help them.
“If someone had a message about ‘I have these fish and I don’t know what to do with them,’ a lot of friends who know I love koi would tag me,” Trammell said. “So I would end up getting messages from people I didn’t know just because they knew I was a koi enthusiast and had the wherewithal to go and remove them safely.”
These means include a van, a Rubbermaid waterer, an aerator that works with the van’s cigarette lighter, and nets. The key to a successful rescue is to work quickly so she can get the fish to her pond or to someone else who wants it. She does not charge for her services, although she does charge money for gas based on the distance she has to travel.
Why is she doing this? Because there’s just something about koi.
“They are so pretty. In Japan they are called living gems,” Trammell said. They are beautiful fish and they are very social. They will come and eat out of your hand. and white, and I would feed him from my hand like a puppy every morning. I would drink my coffee and give him pellets from my hand. He saw me coming and he knew every morning that he was going to eat.
“They’re beautiful. I love watching them. There’s something so peaceful about them watching them swim. It’s therapeutic.