DOA NEWS RELEASE: LIVE SKUN TRAPPED AT HONOLULU HARBOR

Posted on Jul 22, 2021 in Latest News, Newsroom

HONOLULU – A live skunk was captured at Pier 1 in Honolulu Harbor yesterday. Inspectors from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch (PQB) were called Tuesday morning by a ship’s terminal supervisor who reported that an animal, possibly a skunk, was seen on the deck of a container ship that arrived from San Diego on Monday. A team of inspectors were dispatched and searched the vessel but were unable to locate the animal. While at the harbor, PQB staff received another report that the animal was seen on a nearby dock and proceeded to search that area as well and did not find the animal. Six traps were set overnight and on yesterday morning, inspectors were notified that there was an animal in a trap. It was determined to be a skunk and was retrieved by inspectors.

The skunk has been determined to be male. A test for rabies is being sent to the mainland and results are expected in a few days.

In February 2018 and January 2021, live skunks were also captured with the assistance of stevedores at Pier 1 in Honolulu Harbor.

In December 2020, a live skunk was captured on Maui at a pier at Kahului Harbor. In August 2018, a live skunk was captured in a container at a trucking company on Maui.

All the previously captured skunks tested negative for rabies.

Skunks are prohibited in Hawai`i and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo. Skunks inhabit the U.S., Canada, South America, Mexico and other parts of the world. In the U.S., they are recognized as one of the four primary wild carriers of rabies, a fatal viral disease of mammals that is often transmitted through the bite of an infected animal. Hawai`i is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world that is free of rabies.

Sightings or captures of illegal and invasive species should be reported to the state’s toll-free Pest Hotline at 643-PEST (7378).

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