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NEWS | April 17, 2017

Coyote extraction to preserve balance between wildlife, mission

By Staff Sgt. William A. O'Brien Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Editor’s Note: The attached graphics provide a map showing the areas where trapping will take place, as well as the signage that base personnel and their families can expect to see marking extraction locations.

JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. - - 628th Air Base Wing officials, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are scheduled to begin foothold trapping coyotes in the wooded area near The Exchange on the Air Base shortly.

Areas where the coyote extraction is taking place will be marked with signs indicating the presence of foothold traps.

“This extraction will safely and humanely reduce the impact of coyotes on the mission and ensure the safety of residents,” said Col. Robert Lyman, Joint Base Charleston commander. “To prevent injury to yourself, your family and your pets, avoid all areas marked with signs indicating coyote extraction is taking place.”

Joint Base Charleston is comprised of approximately 23,000 acres of varying types of ecosystems across four separate geographic locations. Some areas are densely populated while others are underdeveloped. The animal inhabitants of these ecosystems can potentially converge with the built up areas of the installation. This intrusion can lead to a dangerous situation for the base population, their pets and equipment systems if appropriate measures are not taken.

“In areas with urban interface, near homes, places of work and business, uncontrolled wildlife populations may become a nuisance, even a hazard,” said Terrence Larimer, Joint Base Charleston natural resources manager. “Deer can cause major damage when they consume plant material around homes, gardens in agricultural fields and are a major road hazard for vehicles.”

A common issue on bases around the world is birds impinging on flightlines, risking a Bird and Wildlife Aircraft Strike Hazard. The most frequent culprit interfering with flight operations here are geese. The primary method of stopping wildlife encroachment is prevention.

“The goal is to use natural means to deter animals from entering high traffic areas. The last option we use is depredation,” said Lt. Col. Garrett Fisher, 437th Airlift Wing Flight Safety chief. “Keeping the grass around the airfield short keeps animals away because they would prefer to live in overgrown areas.”

Similar methods apply to wildlife encroachment in base residential areas. Regular deterrence measures are in place to minimize wildlife intrusions. However, base residents may take seemingly nonconsequential actions, which lure wildlife into backyards, risking the transmission of diseases and other hazards. 

“Wild animals, like coyotes, scatter trash from garbage cans if not properly secured. They can raid outdoor pet food bowls if not taken inside at night,” said Larimer. “While it is unlikely for a coyote to attack, they can carry diseases. Coyotes also see house cats and small dogs as prey and will readily take them.”

To report wildlife activity in residential areas, call the Joint Base Charleston Entomology office at 963-5266.