WILMINGTON—Living in the Cape Fear region, it’s common to witness turtles, geese and squirrels braving the roadways.
As a motorist or good Samaritan, there are ways to ensure the public and animals are safe when wildlife crosses the road.
Linda Thompson, spokesperson for the Wilmington Police Department, said motorists who encounter wildlife should call 911. “We urge motorist to call 911,” she wrote in an email.
Thompson said drivers should avoid the animal, if possible, or stand by until an officer arrives.
“We don’t urge anyone to touch animals, this, of course, could be very dangerous,” she wrote. “The most we could do is avert traffic until someone qualified can respond.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, turtles can carry salmonella and could contaminate humans that attempt to handle them. If an animal crossing the road requires physical intervention to get it across, Thompson said to approach the situation at your own risk.
“Some officers and people have done this at their own risk, however, it is not our practice to advise this,” Thompson said.
Lieutenant Jerry Brewer, spokesperson for the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, said the county’s Animal Services Unit does not typically manage wildlife interrupting traffic.
“We normally do not respond to wildlife calls,” Brewer said.
He said private contractors, like Jimmy English of Wildlife Removal Service, are trained to remove animals when there’s a potential risk to humans. “Use common sense,” Brewer said.
If good Samaritans choose to turn on their hazards or pull off to the side of the road, Brewer said law enforcement officials would be understanding if the individual is using common sense.
“If they’re attempting to be a good Samaritan there shouldn’t be any issue,” Brewer said. “It’s better if they pull off the side of the road.”
When animals like turtles attempt to cross the road, it’s best to let them pass to the side they are heading toward, according to the Mid-Atlantic Turtle & Tortoise Society.
Send tips to Johanna Ferebee at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Johanna on Twitter @j__ferebee