Officials say don’t call 911 immediately after a wildlife sighting

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 7:10 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Wildlife officials have been getting more calls about wildlife sightings in places that people don’t typically see these animals: alligators, snakes, even bears in some places.

The increase in these sightings is not uncommon for this time of year with the warmer weather, and recent rainfall.

“We’ve had bears in the city of Wilmington, alligators that are normally here, but with the abundance of rain that we’ve had, people have had more interactions with the alligators because they feel like they can roam farther,” said Master Officer Clayton Ludwick with North Carolina Wildlife Resources.

In addition to weather changes, more development is going into previously empty land, which is driving these animals away from places that used to be their natural habitat.

Wildlife officials said that most times when you spot one of these animals there is no threat, as long as you avoid any interaction with them.

“Just stay away from them, limit your contact with them, and obviously if there’s any food source, remove the food source and don’t feed the alligators,” said Ludwick.

The main concern with a food source is pet food that is typically left outside, or food in garbage cans.

If there are ongoing concerns with an animal, or if they have caused damage, it is best to call the Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401.

If someone is in immediate danger from a wild animal, then you should call 911.

A Columbus County woman recently saw an alligator in her neighbor’s backyard, “I asked him if he called anyone, and he said yes he called 911,” said Columbus County resident Chris Jackson.

Alligator seen in a backyard in Columbus County.
Alligator seen in a backyard in Columbus County.(WECT)

But she quickly realized that 911 wasn’t the number to call. Jackson said she was shocked, but “he never moved, he laid there in the same spot,” until wildlife officials showed up to remove the gator.

Copyright 2021 WECT. All rights reserved.