Raccoon sightings on the rise on IOP

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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – Raccoons sightings are on the rise on the Isle of Palms. There have been 16 reports in the last month. That’s according to the Isle of Palms Police Department.

Chief Kevin Cornett says that number is much higher than normal. In a typical month, there would be two to three calls for raccoon sightings.

Some residents have said the raccoons they have seen have looked sick. Chief Cornett says this has been the case with some, but not all of the animals.

“So what we’ve done is we had one that was tested by DHEC for rabies and it came back negative for rabies but we still continue to monitor those,” said the Chief.

So far, no people or pets have been bitten or come into contact with a raccoon. Most have just been spotted in backyards or heavily wooded areas on the island.

Construction could be to blame for the increased sightings. Chief Cornett says over a dozen homes are being built on the island right now. When a wooded area is cleared out, it can disrupt the habitats of wildlife.

“When we see those sights being developed, you will see an increase in wildlife leaving the area,” said Cornett.

IOP leaders have a meeting on Tuesday with the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to figure out a plan of action.

“We want DHEC involved just to make sure…what are we looking at, how can we best deal with it, and what can we do to keep our community and our pets on the island safe.”

If you see a wild animal in or around your home, DHEC says don’t approach it, keep pets and children at a safe distance away, and if it appears to be sick or poses a danger call your local animal control officer.

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