ISLE OF PALMS, SC (WCSC) - Ask most residents on the Isle of Palms, and they seem to know coyotes are a problem.
There were 33 sightings in December 2017, according to reports provided by the city. It was 22 more than had been reported last October. Last November, multiple residents expressed concern about the issue of wild coyotes in the area.
The spike put the city in a proactive mode, using new traps and cameras to track them. A coyote trapper was also hired in the spring of 2016.
Now the city is taking another step by hosting a "Coyote Expo" on Thursday. It will have exhibits with information on how to manage coyotes which will include information and resources for trapping them on private property.
"If you want to learn what your local government is doing to manage coyotes, and what options you as a property owner have if you are concerned about coyotes on your property, please attend and speak with the exhibitors at this event," IOP Mayor Jimmy Carroll said in a statement.
Displays from the city's police department, Sullivan's Island Police Department, Isle of Palms Coyote Control Coalition, Dewees Island, and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were available.
The city has opted for trapping because hunting isn't an option. It's illegal to discharge a firearm within the city limits and it isn't a designated coyote hunting area by SCDNR.
People can hire trappers to catch coyotes on their property, there's no permit needed.
Coyote sightings are changing the way of life for Isle of Palms residents.
Isle of Palms resident, Mimi Wood says she is thankful the city is holding this expo to address community concerns.
"I have a small dog so I will not let her go out at night by herself," Wood said. "I have to go downstairs in the middle of the night if she needs to go out and we also have two cats who are not allowed outside."
Animal Control Officer for the Isle of Palms Police Department, Chris Enourato says coyote sighting are up because right now it's mating season and it should subside in a couple of months.
"They're lot of development that has gone on in Mount Pleasant and we see them swimming over through the marsh to the island," Enourato said.
The city has been trying to trap coyotes over the last two years. So far they've caught two. They're a difficult animal to catch because they are smart.
The IOP Police Department handed out whistles and clappers. They say if you see a coyote you should be loud.
"Haze the coyotes, make noises, blow whistles, bang on pots things like that to deter them," Enourato said.
Guidelines about how to deal with coyotes have been published on the city's website.
"I think it's part of life, I realize we live on an island, but the island isn't Bermuda," Wood said. "I personally kind of think we're stuck with them and we just need to learn to live with them, am I happy about it, no, but ya know it is what it is."
Anybody who sees one on IOP is asked to call 843-886-6522.
The expo began at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Isle of Palms Recreation Center located at 24 Twenty-Eighth Avenue. A live coyote (in its carrier) will be on site during the event.