MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – An osprey trapped in netting at the Topgolf in Myrtle Beach has died.
The osprey was rescued by local wildlife responders early Tuesday morning.
It died while in transit to Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, outside of Charlotte, NC. According to the rescue group, the cause of death was Capture / Exertional Myopathy.
A member of the rescue group told us, “That is why we stress the importance of getting in quickly because animals cannot hang upside down and struggle for long periods of time. This is why animals die from stress or exertion when they’re on glue traps or trapped in netting like this.”
Kimberly Cerimele is a local wildlife responder who lead the 10 hour-long rescue effort.
“We kind of expected this outcome,” Cerimele said. “But we didn’t want to leave it hanging out here all night with a certain death.”
Cerimele arrived on the scene after being alerted to the situation on Facebook. She’s well-known locally for responding to animals in need, so several people had tagged her in posts about the osprey.
When she got to TopGolf, she found the bird 140 feet in the air. And when first-responders couldn’t reach him, she began making phone calls.
“We started calling every business possible to see if we could get a crane to go at least 120 feet,” she said.
The crane cost $3,000, a bill that TopGolf footed. That’s a price Cerimele says was necessary to pay to help the osprey.
“There was no chance this bird would have gotten out on itself,” she said. ” it was dehydrated definitely. It’s a high-stress bird. so it got really stressed out it was flapping its wings. Unfortunately its talons were completely wrapped up.”
By around 2 a.m., the bird was finally retrieved.
“We were able to cut the net, get its talons untangled and bring the bird through the net,” she explained. “When I had the bird in my arms, and knew we were good, I mean it was just a huge relief that this whole situation was done. this bird was not struggling anymore.”
It’s been a tough day for Cerimele, though, since the bird died.
“It breaks my heart, honestly,” Cerimele said. “How long this bird had been out here struggling hanging upside down with one foot. I mean I was in tears especially when we realized we might have to walk away and not be able to save it.”
News13 asked a local veterinarian what to do should you happen upon an injured animal.
“Best case scenario, just call animal control,” Dr. Isabelle Ying said. She works at Myrtle Beach Animal Hospital. “They will go and handle them appropriately. You don’t want to get injured and you don’t want to hurt them more.”
Still, questions remain about whether or not changes should be made at Topgolf.
“The way birds eyes work as they’re flying, they can’t see the net,” Paul Laurent said. He’s a naturalist working for Black River Outdoors. “The big thing is to increase the visibility of it so the birds can see its a solid object and go around it. “
While Cerimele agrees visibility should increase, she also thinks there should be mechanisms put in place to help when a bird gets stuck.
“I think they need to incorporate a pulley system or they need to gave equipment on hand to handle these situations,” she said.
Morgan Schaaf, Communications Manager for Topgolf Entertainment Group, told News13 the osprey was freed Monday night and turned over to the rescue group.
“On Monday, a hawk became tangled in the net at Topgolf Myrtle Beach. The venue team took immediate action, calling Myrtle Beach first responders, a wildlife expert and a local crane company for assistance,” Schaaf said. “They freed the hawk last night, and it appears to be in good health. For precaution, the hawk is being monitored and cared for by the wildlife expert and will be released back into the wild.”
“Topgolf takes this very seriously, as we are committed to providing a safe environment not only for our Guests and Associates, but also for local wildlife. Safety is our number one service target, and we take great care to ensure that this is maintained at all times,” Schaaf also said. “Thank you to those who assisted with this effort and were able to resolve the situation quickly and safely.”
Myrtle Beach police says it hasn’t responded to a bird stuck in a Topgolf net before, although birds have flown within the netted area before. They were able to escape on their own.
According to Lt. Jonathan Evens with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department, the osprey became trapped in the netting at around 3 p.m. Monday. Firefighters attempted to rescue the osprey but were initially unable to reach it.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department was also called to the scene. They too were initially unable to reach the osprey.