What does it mean to you to live in a community that has a large and diverse population of wildlife species occurring and thriving in their virtually natural habitats? The importance to Seabrook Island residents to observe and interact with the wildlife resources on the Island was reflected in a recent annual survey. Eighty-five percent of the respondents agreed that the presence and variety of wildlife was extremely important to them, and in some cases, the primary reason they chose to live here. Many residents look for ways to learn more about the animals they encounter almost daily. Where they live, what are their habits, what do they eat, how do they raise their young, are just some of the things we are interested in learning more about. Fortunately, there is a method in place that does allow residents to not only to learn some of these things but also to help contribute to the data collection.
For several years, the SIPOA Environmental Committee has used information submitted on “Wildlife Sighting” forms that are accessed through the SIPOA home page. Most residents are, at the least, curious about the diversity and habits of our non-human residents. They are particularly interested in high profile species such as bobcats and piebald deer. Through information submitted on the sighting forms, the committee can obtain several interesting facts about the number and location of individual species, their movements and habits, and other bits of helpful data. Residents are also encouraged to submit comments on any unusual, or interesting wildlife behavior they might observe. Although not statistically accurate, such a database can give useful insight into the numbers and health of individual species populations. Through the Wildlife Sighting forms submitted in recent years, residents have reported location sightings of our four Piebald deer (Two Spot, Tarpon Pond, White Belly and last year’s new baby, Spinnaker), bobcats, coyotes, foxes, and recently the arrival of armadillos.
To report a sighting is easy; but, as we are all aware, the Seabrook Island web pages have changed and the method of accessing the form is slightly different. First, go to the Discover Seabrook page, www.discoverseabrook.com. Notice the SIPOA link on the top of the page.
Now, it is a simple matter of filling out the form. Your address or the location of the sighting is especially important. This will help members of the Wildlife subcommittee to plot the animal’s location on a map and, over time, to show how individual species are distributed throughout the Island. Your email address and phone number are needed only if something needs to be clarified. Periodically, maps will be published showing the locations of sightings. Your name, address and contact information is only used by the committee to contact you and would not be published.
The committee has enjoyed the pictures that residents and guests post on social media, especially Nextdoor. However, we cannot place these sightings in our database without an address. Perhaps if you post a photo, you can also help us out by filling out the sighting form, too.
-Submitted by Roger Banks and Lucy Hoover, Members of the Environmental Committee