Update: SC Dept. of Natural Resources unable to confirm opossum was attacked


BEAUFORT COUNTY, SC (WSAV) – The S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) announced Wednesday they were unable to confirm allegations posted on social media that an injured opossum was attacked or beaten with golf clubs.

According to the animal rehabilitation organization, Wildlife Rehab of Greenville, an opossum was believed to have been beaten by golfers with their clubs on a Hilton Head Island golf course last week.

The SCDNR says the opossum was found when a passing motorist spotted it on the side of a road, approximately 300 feet from a golf course fairway and some nearby homes.

 In a statement provided to SCDNR, the person who stopped to help the opossum did not advise seeing golfers or any other people in the area, and no other people stopped or were present at the scene before local volunteers affiliated with the nonprofit group Wildlife Rehab of Greenville arrived to pick it up. 

SCDNR says an examination by a local veterinarian could not yield a conclusive determination about the cause of the opossum’s injuries.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact the SCDNR’s Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-922-5431, or the SCDNR TIPS mobile app [available at www.dnr.sc.gov/law/OGT.html]. SCDNR will immediately follow-up on any credible information provided, and callers can remain anonymous if they prefer.

Previous article from 1/10/2020:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) – An animal rehabilitation organization says they are caring for an opossum left blind, with a broken jaw after an incident in the Lowcountry this week.

According to Wildlife Rehab of Greenville, an opossum, now named Scarlett, is believed to have been beaten by golfers with their clubs on a Hilton Head Island golf course.

The organization says Scarlett is just two pounds and still has baby teeth.

Wildlife Rehab of Greenville took the opossum in on Wednesday, the same day she was injured, according to the organization’s president, Wendy Watson.

The group posted about Scarlett’s injuries on Facebook, stating that they also reported the incident to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).

The agency confirmed to News 3 that a report about the opossum was made Thursday morning. SCDNR spokesperson David Lucas also said they received a number of other calls this week about the opossum and Wildlife Rehab of Greenville’s Facebook post.

Lucas said at this time, the department hasn’t been able to determine at which golf course the opossum was reportedly injured or speak with anyone who witnessed the beating.

He said anyone with information on the incident can call Operation Game Thief anonymously at 1-800-922-5431.

Watson would not release the name of the golf course to News 3 but said her organization would make sure SCDNR has that information.

“This event should not reflect on the golf course or the city of Hilton Head,” Wildlife Rehab of Greenville stated online. “This act is the sole responsibility of the sick person or persons who attacked this baby.”

The group says Scarlett is facing a lengthy recovery period but is receiving excellent medical care.

Wildlife Rehab of Greenville is holding a fundraiser for Scarlett and to help with the upcoming baby season. For a limited time, the group is selling handmade crochet baby opossum stuffed animals. They are $15 or two for $25, plus $7 for shipping.

The group says orders can be made via e-mail at info@wildlife-rehab.com. Customers should put “Possum Stuffy” in the subject line and include a mailing address and how many stuffed opossums they would like.

To pay, customers are asked to click “donate” on Wildlife Rehab of Greenville’s website, HERE. Customers should put “Stuffy” in the memo line.

The last day to order a crochet opossum is Jan. 17.

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