A live skunk was captured at Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor yesterday. The young male skunk was spotted on the dock and stevedores used a fishing net to capture and contain it until agricultural inspectors from the Hawai`i Department of Agriculture (HDOA) picked it up. The skunk is being tested for rabies.
The container ship that was docked at Pier 1 arrived earlier this week carrying cargo that originated from Canada, Mexico, U.S. and possibly other foreign ports. The ship left port and is headed to Kahului Harbor where personnel have been advised to look out for other possible stowaways.
As a precaution, agricultural inspectors have deployed traps at Pier 1 in case there are more hitchhiking animals on the dock.
In the past live skunks have been captured at Pier 1 in July 2021, February 2018 and January 2021. On Maui, a live skunk was captured at Kahului Harbor in December 2020 and one was captured at a trucking company in August 2018. All previously captured skunks have 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).
(Photo credit: Department of Agriculture)