COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) – Residents affected by Hurricane Matthew and the subsequent river flooding should be cautious of wildlife moving to high ground, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources warns.
"The natural instinct of these creatures is to seek safety and return to their natural habitats once nature allows," according to an SCDNR news release. Director Emily Cope said that some animals do not have the speed or mobility to escape, but fish and other wildlife are generally resilient, and while there may be some negative impact to the local population, they will rebound with proper habitat management.
"While SCDNR understands and appreciates public concern, we want to assure everyone that the overall fish and wildlife populations are stable and should not experience any long-term negative impacts from this natural disaster," she stated.
People who see wildlife are asked by DNR to leave the animal along – do not touch them, try to feed them, or attempt to capture them. If an injured animal is spotted, you can call your local wildlife control officials. See a list of relevant phone number here.