Recent coyote sighting by Kiawah Town biologist

Historically, before the European settlement and during colonial times, the Lowcountry was home to a number of large land predators: wolves, bears, panthers and coyotes. These animals were mostly hunted and driven out through the nineteenth century. By the middle of the twentieth century none were left in the area. More recently, in the last couple of decades, coyotes have made a comeback and been reliably reported on Johns, Wadmalaw, Kiawah and Seabrook Islands. Recent news items from National Geographic and the Christian Science Monitor indicate that the largest of these predators, cougars and black bears are returning to populated areas in suburban Chicago, New Jersey and Santa Monica, CA. Are they far behind for the Lowcountry and Johns Island?   Based on evidence of some livestock kills, one knowledgeable Johns Islander believes there are Carolina panthers still here now. A recent article in the Moultrie News, which serves the East Cooper community (Mt. Pleasant, Daniels, Sullivans and Isle of Palms), also ¬†summarizes recent reports of sightings in the area including one by the author. DNR’s official position is that the Eastern Cougar is extinct in South Carolina. If you sight any of these predators: coyotes, cougars/panther, bears or wolves, please let us know; ESPECIALLY if you can get a picture and send it along. A verified sighting with picture of any of the last three on Johns Island would be national news.   While coyotes are the only confirmed wild predators around, feral dogs are also a problem. ¬† James Island has had a pack of up to ten dogs attack pet cats and wild dogs have been seen on Johns Island chasing deer and in one instance bringing down a fawn.