Island Vibes March 2024

f you visit Isle of Palms and happen to see a coyote prowling the beaches, don’t rub your eyes or think you’re seeing things. While coyotes are not often associated with resort beaches, they are just one of the many exotic wildlife species you might encounter. But if you do happen to cross paths, don’t panic. IOP coyotes have not only adapted to living around humans, so far they have maintained a healthy fear of getting too close to them. “Coyotes on the Isle of Palms are not new – our animal control officer has been keeping a log of coyote sightings since 2015,” said IOP Police Department Sgt. Matt Storen. “We just see more of them now because they are venturing out farther for food sources, especially during winter months.” In 2023, 61 coyote sightings were reported on IOP. Four sightings have been reported in 2024 as of mid-February. The coyotes come from the mainland areas of Mount Pleasant and are capable of swimming across rivers such as the Intracoastal Waterway and walking through the marshes. To maintain a balance between coyotes and island inhabitants, IOPPD teamed up with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources last year to host a coyote information session for residents. The focus, Storen said, is to “educate our residents and visitors to cohabitate with the coyotes just like any other wildlife that lives on the island." “Our animal control officer continues to monitor potential den locations,” Storen said, “and to use signage in the area warning citizens that coyotes may be in the area.” Storen also encouraged both residents and visitors to help by limiting food sources to wildlife, securing garbage bins, not discarding food waste outside and limiting 8 FOR OUR IOP LOCATION EMAIL US AT PAPISTAQUERIA@GMAIL.COM Follow Us @cachitaskitchen on Instagram FOR OUR FOOD TRUCK TEXT US AT 843-214-6299 THANK YOU MOUNT PLEASANT FOR VOTING US BEST FOOD TRUCK! 2024 ® COME SEE US AT PAPI’S TAQUERIA! 1012 Ocean Blvd. Isle of Palms, SC (843) 926-72741 Coyote issue continues to stalk IOP By L. C. Leach III I NEWS outdoor time for small pets because “they are an easy target for coyotes.” But while coyotes by nature are predatory and carnivorous, the ones on IOP beaches have so far presented no danger to humans. “Coyotes shouldn’t pose any more threat than any other wild animal that one might encounter, in or out of the water in that area,” said Jay Butfiloski, certified wildlife biologist with SCDNR. “Certainly, like any other strange animal, if you encounter one, the best course of action is to slowly back away.” Butfiloski added that coyotes have become far more common on Isle of Palms, as well as statewide, at the turn of the 21st century. “Coyotes were first documented in the state in 1978 and documented in all counties sometime in the 1990s,” Butfiloski said. “The outer barrier islands may have been some of the last places to infill, but coyotes have been in Charleston County for some time. And I suspect the population to remain roughly about the same as it is now, with normal annual fluctuations.” It is uncertain whether the IOP coyote population will pose any future problem for the island and its large influx of daily and seasonal visitors. In the meantime, Butfiloski suggested a healthy dose of time-honored caution: don’t bother them and they won’t bother you. “A coyote is in the dog family,” Butfiloski added. “And you should do the same as you would when encountering any strange dog, even more so when you have a pet.”