carolinawildlife

The Peril of Red Eared Sliders

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We’re often confronted with pet owners looking to re-home their Red Eared Slider Turtles. This comes as no surprise as RES are often illegally presented and sold as adorable little hatchlings in cute little plastic lagoons complete with plastic palm trees that almost anyone would have a hard time resisting. But, do resist.

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These turtles should not be released into local ponds because they are considered an invasive species.

A law was passed in 1975 prohibiting the sale of turtles with a carapace (upper shell) length of less than 4 inches. Unfortunately this law continues to be disregarded, especially by our local flea market vendors. Not only are the vendors ignoring the importance of the law, they also don’t have much knowledge to lend to new turtle owners.

If you do own a Red Eared Slider you should know that their upper shell (carapace) can reach up to 12 inches in length. A turtle of this size requires a very large enclosure and the care doesn’t stop there. Turtles are not like your average domestic cat or dog. If well cared for, these turtles can live more than 40 years. Their care can be quite involved, costly, and requires a lot of continued maintenance. If you don’t have the conditions of your turtle enclosure just right and species specific then you will end up with a sick turtle and that will result in very costly vet bills.  Proper heat, lighting, and substrate are required to maintain a healthy turtle habitat.

Some RES owners find that the best solution is to release their turtle into a local pond. DON’T! This is the worst thing that you can do. Red Eared Sliders are considered an invasive species in South Carolina. Releasing them in local waters can cause harm not only to your pet turtle, but to the natural habitat and existence of our native turtles.

Turtles are greatly affected by habitat loss, many native species are now protected and at risk. Invasive species of any kind being introduced into a new area will wreak havoc among native species.

Carolina Wildlife Center will be offering a Turtle Workshop this spring and invites anyone interested in these amazing creatures to come and learn. For more information about the workshop or any other turtle questions contact me, Julie McKenzie at julie@carolinawildlife.org

It’s a Baby Shower!

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Our season has started early, and the babies are here. Join us for our annual Baby Shower to help us get ready for the hundreds and hundreds  of wildlife babies that will come through our doors this spring. In fact, over half of the more than 3,500 animals we’re expecting this year are projected to come to us in the next three to four months.

This open house event is a great opportunity to tour The Nest, get up close with some truly amazing animals, and learn more about protecting South Carolina wildlife. And yes, we welcome Baby Gifts! Bring the whole family for some great fun!

Come by the Baby Shower for a big dose of cuteness!

Saturday, April 12
10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Sunday, April 13
1:00 to 5:00 pm

Highlights
Education animals
Baby feedings
Kids’ crafts
Festival food

Baby Shower Wish List
Fresh frozen fruits, veggies
Nuts and birdseed
Paper and cleaning supplies
Pedialyte and baby food
Gift cards (Target, Walmart, Lowes, etc.)
Check out the complete wish list.

As always, cash gifts are cheerfully accepted! If you can’t make it to the event and would like to help ensure we can save these babies, simply make a pledge to our One for Wildlife campaign. Without your help, we may not be able to take in all the animals that come to us this year.

If you are planning on coming to the Baby Shower, please RSVP by calling 803.772.3994, or send an email to info@carolinawildlife.org to let us know how many folks you’ll be bringing with you. If you don’t get a chance to respond, no worries. Just come on over for a fun day with the babies!

 

 

Coming Together as One for Wildlife

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Spring is here, and with it comes the annual conundrum: How can we reconcile decreased donation levels with the need to care for the thousands of animals — many of whom are abandoned babies — that come in our doors this time of year?

The challenge is real and immediate.

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These little guys will be here soon;  help us save them.

Consider this math: Our average annual intake of animals has TRIPLED in the last 20 years, from 1,200 birds, mammals and reptiles to more than 3,500 in recent years. This is not surprising, given that our expanding human footprint—new neighborhoods, shopping centers, highways and more— continues to crowd their natural habitat.

It takes an average of $62 to provide basic care for the animals we take in. Those costs are amortized over the months it takes to rehabilitate the majority of animals. We’re managing every dollar every day, but as our intakes increase, so do our costs. We must
secure the funding to sustain our work.

We need to raise $85,000 in the next 30-45 days to ensure we can take in all the animals that come to us this spring. Or we will be forced to turn them away.

Enter One for Wildlife

To meet this need in the months to come and beyond, we’ve officially launched our One for Wildlife campaign. A gift starting at just $1 a week ($52) helps us cover basic operating costs. Additional gifts help us provide the food, medicine and equipment animals need to recover and thrive. Major gifts do that and more, helping us expand our education and outreach work in the community, all of which is essential to wildlife conservation.

How you can help:

  • Screen Shot 2014-03-16 at 3.05.31 PMGo to our donate page to see the various giving levels associated with One for Wildlife, and give now
  • Follow the campaign online on our Facebook page, and share the appeals you see there with
    your Facebook page
  • Call me at 803.622.0002 to learn more about the ways in which you can get involved in hosting One for Wildlife fundraising events

This organization has taken in more than 56,000 birds, mammals and reptiles since we started 25
years ago. We’re at a crossroads in our history, this is the time to make a commitment to move our mission forward.

Join me, and stand as One for Wildlife.

Jay Coles
Executive Director

An old scout learning new tricks

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I have been the “new” Executive Director here at Carolina Wildlife Center for the past five months. I still use the word “new” because I have discovered that things around here change constantly. I can tell I will have to experience at least a full year to begin to understand the natural cycle of this environment.

Jay 003aAs a child, I grew up playing in the woods, building tree houses and forts, building bridges and damming up creeks. I caught fireflies, tadpoles and crawfish. I hiked.  I camped. A Boy Scout to the end. No matter where we lived there was always somewhere close by to get out into the woods.

As for my background, I bring experience in marketing and advertising, real estate development, construction and non-profit management. This position at Carolina Wildlife Center offers an opportunity to use all of my past experiences in an environment that serves the very nature and wildlife that has been such an important part of my life.

I am honored to have been asked to be part of this amazing organization. I am inspired each day by our dedicated, knowledgeable and compassionate staff and volunteers. The education I have received and the experiences I have had in these first five months change me daily. You only have to spend a day at the “Nest” to realize the delicate balance of human and wildlife interaction and the responsibility we have to maintain this balance. I invite you to join me be an active part of this adventure. Your support and participation is essential to the work we do. Please donate, volunteer and support our efforts to care for our wildlife and educate our community about the balance we must maintain between nature and ourselves.

An Unintentional Catch

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All fishermen have, from time to time, a lure break off the line. The cause could be a weak knot on a long cast, a brush pile snag, or a simple drop while tying on. Perhaps it’s just an old lure. Do you bother to go after it, or do you think, It’s just old, and I’ve got plenty? If you love wildlife and water foul, that’s not a question you even ask.

Protect our wildlife by retrieving lost lures and other sharp objects.

Protect our wildlife by retrieving lost lures and other sharp objects.

This past summer a Canada goose came to the center with a lost torpedo lure embedded in its feet. The goose had stepped on the lure and the barbs of the hook pierced one foot. It appears that in attempting to remove it, the goose impaled its other foot with the lure. Now eight of the nine barbs were deeply embedded in both feet. One can only imagine the animal’s pain, stress, and frustration.

Its feet tied together by the lure, the goose was unable to swim and was adrift in the lake. Thankfully, one of our incredible wildlife first responders came to the rescue. She waded into the lake and gently brought the goose to shore. Discovering the lure, she rushed the goose to Carolina Wildlife Center where it was removed from the goose’s feet. After a time of quiet and careful monitoring, the goose was transferred to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue in North Carolina to complete its recovery.

With the lake level down on Lake Murray for the winter, this is a great time to walk the shoreline and remove lost lures, sharp objects, and fishing line that could harm our precious wildlife. While every moment spent fishing is treasured, so are the wild birds and animals that make being there so special.

Deer In The Headlights

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As I was driving home the other night I glanced at the radio and back to the road. There he was: a deer in the headlights. I gently placed my foot on the break pedal as he stepped off to the side of the road. My heart was pounding, and I don’t think my eyes left the road the rest of the way home.

deer-headlights

Did you know  South Carolina ranks 18th in overall likelihood of a vehicle-deer collision in comparison to the other states? State Farm Insurance data shows November is the month during which deer-vehicle encounters are most likely to occur. In fact, more than 18 percent of all such mishaps take place during this month. Deer-vehicle collisions are three times more likely to occur on a day in November than they are on any day between February 1st and August 31st. October is the second most likely month for a crash involving a deer and a vehicle. December is third.

Here are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to reduce the odds of a deer-vehicle confrontation:

  1. Keep in mind that deer generally travel in herds – if you see one, there is a strong possibility others are nearby.
  2. Be aware of posted deer crossing signs. These are placed in active deer crossing areas.
  3. Remember deer are most active between 6 and 9 p.m.
  4. Use high beam headlamps as much as possible at night to illuminate the areas from which deer will enter roadways.
  5. If a deer collision seems inevitable, attempting to swerve out of the way could cause you to lose control of your vehicle or place you in the path of an oncoming vehicle.
  6. Don’t rely on car-mounted deer whistles.

Keep your eyes on the road and slow down. That’s the best advice I was given about driving through areas where deer are likely to be on the move. Not only will it reduce your chance of injuring or killing one of these beautiful animals, it might save your life as well.

Oatee the Turtle: Friends Helping Wildlife

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Oatee the Turtle was brought in last month with a severely damaged shell. Things looked very bad for this poor turtle, but we had high hopes he would recover.

Matt, the young man who brought him in, rallied his friends and contacts. Together they raised more than $350 in donations. These donations helped defray the cost of this little turtle’s rehabilitation.

A few days (and a few Facebook posts) later, Oatee became a local superstar. Thanks to all of his fans, we were able to raise more than $800 ! These donations allowed us to purchase much needed pain medication for Oatee and other reptiles in need. In the past we were unable to afford these medications, but thanks to Oatee and all of you, our reptiles will have some respite from their aches and pains.

Without this wonderful community, our mission would not be possible. Because of you, hundreds of animals just like Oatee get a second chance at life.