wildlife

The Future of Crab Bank; A Coastal Bird Sanctuary

Jul 24, 2018
The remnants of Crab Bank at the entrance of Mount Pleasant's Shem Creek
David Quick

Chris Crolley wears a long, grey, shirt only those who work in the sun instinctively know to wear.  His blue eyes reflect some of the button-up’s hue, as he looks out beneath his worn, woven hat with a small, winged pin.  He knows what makes tourists and locals alike go “ahhh”.  He’s been giving tours of Mount Pleasant’s Shem Creek for 30 years.

StockSnap [CC0 1.0] via Pixabay

USC Retail Department Chair Mark Rosenbaum is excited by this year’s holiday shopping season.  A decade after the great recession that started in 2008, he said retail sales in the state and nation are back to 2007 levels.  The stock market’s record highs are just in time for retail and for consumer confidence, he said. 

catlovers [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr

Tigers are rapidly disappearing in nature because of poaching and habitat destruction, according to Dr. Brett Wright, dean of Clemson University’s College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences.  In 2010 there were an estimated 3200 tigers still roaming India and other Asian countries.   This alarming figure caused Clemson to contact the other major "tiger mascot" universities – Auburn, LSU and Missouri – and form the U.S. Tiger University Consortium to help increase the number of tigers in the wild. 

'Gator on Durham Creek, Berkeley County
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

Ron Russell has been catching alligators in the Lowcountry for nearly 30 years.  Each fall, people hire him as a guide for the state's public hunt.  But this year, he says gators, especially the big ones, were harder to find.

"We've harvested the heck out of them with all three programs the last 12 years," said Russell.  "I think it's going to start showing up we can't maintain this every year without it actually hurting the population dramatically.  I've already seen the decrease in population just in this area."

American Alligator, Alligator mississippiensis.
National Fish and Wildlife Service

Once-endangered, alligators have made such a comeback under federal and state protection that hunting them is now allowed by the state during a one-month season.   Many have also intruded enough into human space to become tagged as “nuisance alligators,” which must be removed by state or private personnel.  Jay Butfiloski, alligator and fur-bearer expert from the S.C. Dept. of Natural Resources, says a nuisance alligator is simply a gator in a place where someone doesn’t want it to be, whether it’s a private pond or a shopping center parking lot. 

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. In days long past, the fruits of chestnuts were the most important source of mast in forests of the eastern United States. Today, acorns, fruits of red and white oaks, are the major source of winter food that large number of animals –blue jays, wild turkeys, squirrels, deer, black beer and more rely upon for sustenance.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Rather than sending  the limbs and branches you pick up after a storm to the landfill,  use that material to make a brush pile on your property. Put the largest limbs down first and then come back at a ninety degree angle with similar sized material for the frame work. Then begin to add smaller debris, especially with leaves still attached. Keep the pile as loose as possible.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Another type of dead wood that should be left in wooded areas when it doesn’t threaten timber value is large logs. In rural areas bears and turkey vultures can find shelter in them and mice, amphibians, lizards, snakes and such use their rotted interiors or crevices beneath them as places of refuge. One interesting fact is that the humidity associated with these rotting, moist pieces of wood is that is creates micro-environments for such moisture requiring amphibians as salamanders and certain frogs.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Although tree farmers must keep their stands healthy, a few snags, upright dead or dying trees, usually don’t pose a risk and are critical to the lifecycle of many animals. Primary cavity creators like woodpeckers and brown-headed nuthatchers are the top of a group of animals that benefit from snags. A raft of secondary creatures then enjoy these hollow spaces – such as  Owls, bats and certain songbirds.

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you are fortunate enough to have a woods as part of  your property, you can support wildlife by management decisions. I’ve seen many newcomers who want their pines or hardwoods to be as tidy as their shrub borders – a practice that destroys many places birds, mammals and reptiles need for their lifecycle. Three types of dead wood are critical for a wildlife nurturing woodland.

  Wild hogs have been a problem for farmers and others for decades in South Carolina and most other states. The damage they cause nationally to crops, landscaping, competing wildlife and natural resources amounts to $1.5 billion a year, according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. South Carolina farmer Donnie Wakefield tells us how increasing herds, or sounders, of wild pigs cause $30-50,000 in damage annually to his operation, and USDA representative Noel Myers explains why the numbers of these invasive creatures are growing.