Maui News

Live Bat Found on Container Ship at Honolulu Harbor

August 3, 2017, 12:56 PM HST
* Updated August 3, 12:58 PM
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A three-inch long live bat was found on a container ship that arrived at Honolulu Harbor from San Diego on Tuesday, Aug. 1.

A three-inch long live bat was found on a container ship that arrived at Honolulu Harbor from San Diego on Tuesday, Aug. 1. Photo Courtesy

Crew members on board the Pasha Hawaiʻi ship captured the bat and called inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture around 7:45 a.m.

When inspectors arrived, the crew had covered the brown and black bat with a Styrofoam cup that was covered by a safety cone with a glove over the top to prevent the bat from escaping.

“We appreciate the sharp eyes and swift action taken by the Pasha Hawaiʻi crew,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture. “Even one small animal, like this bat, can introduce diseases to Hawaiʻi that may pose threats of disease to humans, as well as other animals and native species.”

The species was identified by the Bishop Museum as a Western pipistrelle [Parastrellus (Pipistrellus) Hesperus] which is found in the Western United States and Mexico.

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Officials say that tissue samples from the bat were sent to a laboratory on the Mainland to test for the rabies virus.

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In 2006, a live bat was captured after flying from a Mexican container ship through an open window at Aloha Tower and in 2011, a live bat was found in a container of radishes from Korea. Back in 2012, a live bat was found in the interisland terminal at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

Rabies is a fatal viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaiʻi is the only state and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free. There are also diseases in bats that pose a threat to the endangered native Hawaiian hoary bat.

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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