Coyote Population Steady in South Carolina

coyoteThe South Carolina Department of Natural Resources reports that coyote populations in the state have leveled off in the last several years, although when he heard the news, its own board chairman said his farm has “about 10,000,” the The Columbia State newspaper and the (Florence) Morning News.

The information was released at a presentation to the natural resources board last week.

The population trend is estimated from the number of coyotes killed in the state each year, the article reports. That number has remained steady for several years. The article notes that the state does not have specific population figures on coyotes.

According to the harvest statistics, coyotes are not spread evenly over the state. Several counties top the others in the total number of coyotes killed and the number of coyotes killed per square mile. Abbeville, Saluda and Cherokee Counties lead the list in coyotes killed per square mile, the Island Packet reports.

The article includes extensive quotes from a university extension agent who refers to the coyotes as “dogs,” which really isn’t helping anyone.

The Columbia State article in the Island Packet, with lots of interactive statistics.
The Morning News article.

Photo: Coyote by Steve Thompson, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife

White Nose Syndrome in South Carolina

SC WNSA tri-colored bat, found dead in Table Rock State Park in the northwestern corner of South Carolina, has been confirmed to have white nose syndrome (WNS), the Charlotte Observer and S.C. Department of Natural Resources report.

The SC DNR press release says:

The bat was collected on Feb. 21, transported on ice, and submitted to the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study in Athens, Ga. The Wildlife Disease Study confirmed the presence of Geomyces destructans fungus, which causes WNS.


It further says:

“We have been expecting WNS in South Carolina,” said Mary Bunch, wildlife biologist with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) based in Clemson. “We have watched the roll call of states and counties and Canadian provinces grow each year since the first bat deaths were noted in New York in 2007.”

South Carolina is the 21st state to report a case of WNS. The roll cal includes five Canadian provinces. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s WNS map shows this newest WNS site as being located in the Appalachian Mountains, not far from many other Southern mountain sites in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia.

Read the Charlotte Observer article here.
Read the SC DNR press release here.

Illustration: The USFWS March 11, 2013 WNS map, showing a new site in Pickens County, South Carolina confirmed. Map by Carl Butchkoski, PA Game Commission

Bosses say: Don’t Talk; Don’t Conserve

A bit of irony: "Prepared in Mind and Resources"In South Carolina, a member of the state’s wildlife commission has told a member of Department of Natural Resources to stop participating in the state’s Savannah River Maritime Commission, which is charged “to represent this State in all matters pertaining to the navigability, depth, dredging, wastewater and sludge disposal, and related collateral issues in regard to the use of the Savannah River.” (See full text of S.C. state code, here.)

It’s also one of several entities suing to stop the dredging of the Savannah River, The State newspaper of South Carolina reports.

Read all the details in The State article, here. (As well as some details about the sudden retirement of the state’s DNR chief after 37 years on the job.)

In Alaska, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Natural Resources wants to remove the words “conserve,” “enhance,” and “future generations” from the department’s mission statement, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

Since the the old mission statement said (according to KSKA, Alaska public broadcasting) that the department’s mission is: “To develop, conserve and enhance natural resources for present and future Alaskans,” That leaves, “To develop natural resources for present Alaskans.”

The change was proposed on Jan. 17.

Shrew in a bottle

North Carolina researchers found vertebrate remains in 4.5 percent of the open bottles they found on roadsides. The researchers recovered the remains of 553 small mammals, including five species of shrew and six species of rodent. They suggest that such an examination of roadside trash can be a way of surveying shrews without causing additional deaths in pit falls or snap traps. It’s also pretty good testament to the benefits of bottle refund laws.

According to the authors’ citations, the idea of using discarded bottles to survey the abundance of shrews goes back to at least 1966.

The study appeared in Southeastern Naturalist. Read more.