National News

Live bat found on container ship from San Diego to Honolulu

Posted August 4

— Hawaii agriculture officials say a small live bat was found Tuesday morning on a container ship that arrived in Honolulu Harbor from San Diego.

The Pasha Hawaii crew was able to capture the bat and called state officials. The crew covered the bat with a styrofoam cup that was covered with a safety cone with a glove over the top to cover the hole to keep the bat from escaping.

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

The body of the brown and black bat measured about 3-inches-long. The bat was tested for rabies and test results came back negative.

In 2006, a live bat was captured after flying from a Mexican container ship through an open window at Aloha Tower. In 2011, a live bat was found in a container of radishes from Korea. 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. Hawaii 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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