West Indian Manatee (Trichechus manatus) - Being an alert boater, especially in tidal creeks where manatees like to feed, goes a long way toward helping these mammals avoid boat collisions, which are the number one threat to manatees. Find additional resources at https://www.fws.gov/southeast/wildlife/mammals/manatee/.
Frosted Flatwoods Salamander (Ambystoma cingulatum) - Destruction of habitat due to logging and development is the primary threat to these endangered amphibians.
Rafinesque’s Big-Eared Bat (Corynorhinus rafinesquii) - The bat forages for insects, especially moths and mosquitoes, for several hours after dark; Due to its wide distribution, IUCN Red List categorizes the species as being of “least concern.” However, four states (Georgia, West Virginia, South Carolina, and Tennessee) have reported population declines, and populations in Indiana and Ohio likely have been eradicated.
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) - A wild eagle in Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge near Bulls Island; Learn more about the Center for Birds of Prey and how you can help at http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/.
Call of the Wild: Jim Elliott, founder of the Center for Birds of Prey, releases a bald eagle that was treated for lead toxicity at the Awendaw facility.
Center for Birds of Prey: Debbie Mauney (right), director of the center’s Avian Medical Clinic, and volunteer Mary Pringle examine a bald eagle with a fractured radius and ulna, likely caused by collision. To date, the center has treated and released more than 8,000 wild birds of prey and shorebirds, as well as collected important data regarding the challenges faced by wild bird populations.
Swallow-Tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) - Locally, swallow-tailed kites are primarily spotted in large floodplain forests and swamps of the outer coastal plain, especially in the Francis Marion National Forest and on the Santee, Edisto, and Savannah rivers; With a former breeding ground that included 21 states as far north as Minnesota, the swallow-tailed kite is now limited to seven or eight Southern states. Help South Carolina and the Center for Birds of Prey monitor their distribution and population trends by reporting sightings at http://www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.org/.
Frosted Elfin (Callophrys irus) - Help pollinators like the frosted elfin by using native plants in your landscaping and avoiding insecticides, which can kill good insects in addition to pests
Southern Hognose Snake (Heterodon simus) - Biologists believe fire ants may play a role in the decline of this species, whose eggs are vulnerable to the invasive insects. Learn more about the snakes of South Carolina at http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/.
Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) - Sea turtle nests in South Carolina are counted and protected by a large team of volunteers up and down the coast. Find a volunteer group near you at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/seaturtle/.
Hank’s Journey Home: “Hank” the juvenile loggerhead—injured by boat strikes and anemic—was rescued by the DNR, rehabilitated at the South Carolina Aquarium, and released back into the Atlantic a few months later
Least Tern (Sterna antillarum) - In the summer, tern chicks left alone for mere minutes can succumb to the scorching heat. Give them a better shot at survival by not disturbing birds on the beach. Learn more about seabirds at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/.
Shortnose Sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum) - Biologists at Bears Bluff National Fish Hatchery on Wadmalaw Island rear sturgeon for research and stocking purposes. Learn more at https://www.fws.gov/bearsbluff/.
Wilson’s Plover (Charadrius wilsonia) - These birds might feign a broken wing to lure predators away from their chicks. Learn more at http://www.dnr.sc.gov/wildlife/species/coastalbirds/.
Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata) - Stripes, a female spotted turtle, is an education animal at the South Carolina Aquarium and an ambassador for her species. She was transferred as part of a breeding program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; The Turtle Survival Alliance supports turtle conservation across the globe but is based here in Charleston. Check out its work at http://www.turtlesurvival.org/
American Wood Stork (Mycteria americana) - Standing some three feet tall with a five-foot wingspan, an adult wood stork is the largest wading bird native to the US and the only stork to breed here.
On the Rebound: In 2013, South Carolina had 21 wood stork colonies (six in Charleston County) comprised of 2,020 nesting pairs—a significant increase from the single colony of 11 pairs recorded in 1981.
Take Note: North Atlantic right whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). According to NOAA Fisheries, their two greatest threats are entanglement in fixed fishing gear and vessel strikes. Watercraft must remain at least 500 yards away from the mammals.
North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) - A massive right whale mama and her calf; Read more about these mammals at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/north-atlantic-right-whale.
Red-Cockaded Woodpecker (Picoides borealis) - Despite their name, the birds are mostly black and white, with the males having a small red streak (“cockade”) behind the eye; Hurricane Hugo devastated the Francis Marion National Forest in 1989, killing many of its red-cockaded woodpeckers in the process. But it has since become a model for woodpecker recovery, with a robust population that now serves as a “donor” for other sites hoping to reintroduce this bird.
Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) - Plant butterfly milkweed in your yard. It’s native to the Lowcountry, adds a brilliant burst of orange to the garden, and is a monarch magnet. Learn more about how you can help these insects at https://xerces.org/;
Barrier Island Eco Tours -- http://nature-tours.com/