With fishing, like any outdoor sport, there are rules

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Recently, we received a beautiful Canada goose from a caring couple that found it struggling and near death. The goose had become tangled in fishing line, Cajun Red monofilament to be exact. The fishing line was wrapped around the goose’s neck just below its crop. The crop is the expanded part of the esophagus that holds food and gradually allows digestion. As the goose struggled to free itself from the tangle, the line tightened around its neck. The tightened line was preventing the goose from digesting the food in its full crop and passing through to the stomach.  The bird was hungry and while it continued to eat it was starving to death.

I have loved fishing since I was a child. Some of my best memories were fishing with my Dad and now with my son.  With fishing, like any outdoor sport, there are rules and a sportsman’s etiquette that has been passed down from generation to generation. These rules are all about showing respect for nature and the environment and your fellow sportsman. But some don’t share my belief that these rules are golden.

If you fish enough you are going to have a line break or lose a lure or tangle on a snag. This is inevitable. Not stopping to try to retrieve it is unacceptable. Again and again we see the deadly effects that this can have on wildlife. A fisherman recently asked if I really expected him to stop fishing to retrieve his tangled line. I explained that he should not only pick up his line but any other discarded line he saw. He looked at me as if I were crazy and said “that’s not gonna happen.”

Maybe if he had been cradling that goose’s head when it expelled its last breath the answer would have been different.

Remember that 80% of all wildlife injuries are a result of human interaction. Things we do or don’t do.

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Jay Coles

Executive Director, Carolina Wildlife Center

Possum Jam Fall Fundraiser

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Possum Jam

An Art and Music benefit for Carolina Wildlife Center


Event Date: November 19, 2014

Time: 5 PM – 10 PM

Event Location: 320 Senate St. a.k.a. “Senate’s End”

Entertainment: Flat Out Strangers

Food: The State Farmer’s Market Food Truck & Dupre’s BBQ Wagon

Beverages: Cash Beer, Wine & food sales

Silent Auction

CWC education animals on site 5 – 7 PM

Join us for Possum Jam, an art and music benefit for Carolina Wildlife Center featuring the swing melodies of Flat Out Strangers. Beer, wine and the Farmer’s Market Food Truck will be on hand along with Dupre’s famous BBQ sliders. We have a fabulous Silent Auction of local art and crafts as well as fun outdoor adventures and great outdoor living gear. Best of all you’ll get to meet our newest Education Ambassador animals as they debut in their first public appearance. The fun starts at 5 p.m. and goes till 10 p.m. with the Education animals on hand from 5-7 p.m. Join in the fun at 320 Senate Street a.k.a. Senate’s End. All proceeds go to the care and nurture of injured and orphaned wildlife.

For more information contact:

Jay Coles Executive Director, Carolina Wildlife Center

(803) 622-0002

Midlands Gives boosts giving power for Carolina Wildlife Center

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Thanks to a new, community-wide philanthropic effort, Carolina Wildlife Center has an unprecedented opportunity to earn thousands of dollars in bonus donations. It’s called Midlands Gives, a 24-hour online giving marathon sponsored by the Central Carolina Community Foundation, and it’s all happening on Tuesday, May 6. Please take a moment to learn more about how you can help us magnify donations to CWC through this fun event!

What is Midlands Gives all about?Midlands Gives_transparent

Midlands Gives is a 24-hour giving challenge designed to encourage people throughout the community to make online donations to their favorite causes. Participating nonprofits like Carolina Wildlife Center will compete against each other to attract the greatest number of people donating to their nonprofit within that 24-hour period. Central Carolina Community Foundation, in collaboration with other generous philanthropic partners, is making approximately $90,000 in bonus pool and special prize money available to nonprofits with the greatest number of people donating to their cause on Midlands Gives Day.

How do I support Carolina Wildlife Center through Midlands Gives?

1.  Mark your calendar or to-do list for Tuesday, May 6th as a reminder to give!

2. Help us spread the word; please share this opportunity with your friends via email or simply share the posts you see about Midlands Gives on the CWC Facebook and Twitter pages. Remember, it’s the number of people who give online to Carolina Wildlife Center – not the amount of the donation – that will qualify us for bonus donations.

3. Go to the Midlands Gives page to make your $20 or more donation on Tuesday, May 6, from 12:00 am to 11:59 pm. IMPORTANT NOTE: Contributions made though the Midlands Gives site only on May 6th count toward our status on the leader board; gifts made to the CWC through our donations page on our website are not counted toward Midlands Gives. Giving on the Midlands Gives page is the only way the Community Foundation can accurately track gifts made during the 24-hour marathon.

 Why does Midlands Gives Day matter to Carolina Wildlife Center? 

The Midlands Gives program comes at a great time for Carolina Wildlife Center. Given the record numbers of injured and abandoned wildlife we expect to come through our doors this spring, the opportunity to leverage every donation made on May 6 with bonus dollars and additional prize money will go a long way to helping us reach our One for Wildlife campaign goal of $85,000 this spring to care for these youngest and most vulnerable animals.

We are truly fortunate to have an organization like Central Carolina Community Foundation bringing these kinds of funding opportunities to organizations like Carolina Wildlife Center. Please join everyone at Carolina Wildlife Center in extending our thanks to them and your commitment to CWC by pledging a gift on Tuesday, May 6th.



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.


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

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

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 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.


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.


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.