So there are all these coyotes roaming Sullivan's Island, apparently causing all sorts of mischief.
As we all know coyotes are wont to do.
This is no hoax. Islanders have been compiling evidence for months, and it is compelling.
These wily critters have been caught on camera lurking around beach access points.
Several cats have disappeared.
Then there are all those piles of bird seed left in the road, with signs advertising "Free food."
What more proof do you need?
Well, then there's this, too: There is not a single road runner on Sullivan's Island. Coincidence?
There are two schools of thought about what should be done here. The town's official policy has been education, letting folks know how to safely live among coyotes. Mayor Mike Perkis says the town needs to figure out how many of the animals there are on the island and talk to environmental groups about what ecological impact removing them could have.
Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Kaynard just wants to get rid of the coyotes, by any means necessary. He's asking Town Council to take aggressive action. (Hint: boulders work well)
There's a council committee meeting this morning, and coyotes are on the agenda.
But they probably won't show up to defend themselves. They are decidedly nocturnal creatures, no matter what you see on TV.
Now most people associate the coyote (Desertus-Operativus Imbecilius) with the southwest, but in fact they are all over the place.
Coyotes have been in South Carolina for decades, and there are a lot of them.
And that's the problem with simply finding a few freeloaders on Sullivan's and giving them the boot. Others would simply come and replace them - so long as there is food on the island (besides Poe's and Dunleavy's).
But some islanders aren't real keen on the live-and-let-live approach. They say the coyotes are a danger to cats, small dogs and even children. That's a good point, and the town should take it seriously.
But there are also going to be animals around, no matter what. We've got more raccoons than tourists and boxes of foxes.
What's next - are we going to get remove all the sharks from the shallows around the island?
Perkis says the island needs to determine whether getting rid of coyotes would have any effects on the eco-system, whether it would do any good and even if they are much of a problem.
"They shy away from human interaction," he says.
But thats's little comfort for folks who are scared of them.
Root of the problem?
Some folks on the island think there is more to this hubbub than just a pack of wild animals.
Since the coyotes are not renting a beach house, most people assume they are living in the maritime forest on the island's accreted land. And some people wouldn't mind knocking down that forest.
It's blocking the view, you see.
Well, if folks start talking about taking out trees as opposed to snaring some hare-brained night critters, there is going to be a much bigger fight on Sullivan's Island.
The best thing to do right now is to follow the town's lead and figure out exactly what they are dealing with. There are a couple of ways to do that.
First, just call that Acme company and find out where they are FedExing all those instant holes, rocket shoes and bat-man flying suits.
If that doesn't work, just put up signs welcoming the American Association of Road Runners to Fort Moultrie this Saturday. They won't be able to resist.
It's good to be cautious, but sometimes to live in a natural setting you have to deal with nature.
And unless the island is overrun with coyotes, Sullivan's should be able to keep the population under control with a few anvils.
Reach Brian Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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