Maui News

Skunk Captured at Honolulu Harbor

July 23, 2021, 8:51 AM HST
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Skunk found at Honolulu Harbor (7.21.21) PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture

A live skunk was captured at Pier 1 in Honolulu Harbor on Wednesday after traps were set overnight following reported sightings the day before.

A ship terminal supervisor reported the animal was seen on the deck of a container ship that arrived from San Diego on Monday.

Inspectors from the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture’s Plant Quarantine Branch searched the vessel but were unable to locate the animal. While at the harbor, 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 Wednesday morning, inspectors were notified that there was an animal in a trap. It was determined to be a skunk and was retrieved by inspectors. 

Department officials say the animal is a male, and a test for rabies is being sent to the mainland. Results are expected in a few days.

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

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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.

Skunk found at Honolulu Harbor (7.21.21) PC: Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture

All the previously captured skunks tested negative for rabies.

Skunks are prohibited in Hawaiʻi and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo. Skunks inhabit the US, Canada, South America, Mexico and other parts of the world. In the US, 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. Hawaiʻi is the only state in the US and one of the few places in the world that is free of rabies.

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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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