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Live Skunk Identified, Contained in Honolulu

January 21, 2021, 5:17 PM HST
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Skunk found in Honolulu Harbor. PC: HDOA

DOT employees on Tuesday reported a live skunk on Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor.

They called plant quarantine inspectors from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and relayed that a stevedore had cornered and contained a skunk under a container at the pier.

Inspectors arrived to the pier Tuesday night, but due to safely concerns were unable to capture the skunk, according to a release from HDOA. Early Wednesday morning, a team of inspectors completed the task.

The skunk was determined to be female and weighed about six pounds. A test for rabies has been sent to the mainland and results are expected in a few days. It is unknown how the skunk arrived at the pier. As a precautionary measure, inspectors have also set traps in the surrounding area in case there may be other hitchhiking animals nearby, the department said.

Last month, a live skunk was also found at a Kahului pier after being spotted by a biologist. In February 2018, a live skunk was contained by stevedores at Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor and in August 2018, a live skunk was found in a container at a trucking company on Maui. All of those skunks were captured by HDOA inspectors and tested negative for rabies.

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Skunks are prohibited in Hawai`i 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.

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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. Hawai`i is the only state in the US 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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