By Jennifer Tuohy, Island Eye News Editor
On April 21, an osprey entangled in a fishing line was admitted to the medical clinic of The Center for Birds of Prey.
“After further investigation it was discovered that the bird had a hook embedded in his body and two small gunshot wounds,” said Center’s Medical Clinic Director Debbie Mauney.
The bird was brought to the clinic by senior volunteer Mary Pringle, who had been called after Arthur Perry, a resident of Isle of Palms, found the osprey on the golf course at Wild Dunes. The sound of two gunshots had drawn him to the location.
“When I got there Isle of Palms police officer Hunter Larimore was on the scene as well as two residents of the neighborhood,” Pringle said. “The adult osprey who lives next to a pond at the 14th fairway of the Harbor gold course had become entangled in monofilament line and was on the bank of the pond. The situation was made much worse by two young males who had shot it. The golfers, also young men, who lived nearby, had seen them with a rifle, heard several shots, called the police, and chased the perpetrators.
“I rescued the osprey, carried it to the Medical Clinic at the Center for Birds of Prey. The injury from the fish hook was not fatal, but a bullet had destroyed the bird’s elbow joint so that it would never be able to fly again. So it had to be humanely euthanized.”
It is illegal to discharge a firearm on the Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island, and all native birds, including birds of prey, are protected by law.
“We are required by federal law to report all illegal activity related to migratory birds to USFWS within 48 hours of admittance,” Mauney said. “This case was reported to USFWS law enforcement, SCDNR law enforcement, and the IOP Police dept. All these agencies responded quickly and spent most of the following day investigating this case, but to my knowledge, they were unable to identify the young men who allegedly shot the bird.”
“This story is one that really illustrates what a threat we can be to these apex predators who are so important to the health of our ecosystems,” Kara Viacrucis of The Center said.
If you have information about this incident which might be helpful to the Isle of Palms’ police call 886.6522.