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Trucking crew unloading container finds live Skunk in Kahului

A live skunk was found in a container at a trucking company on Maui last week Thursday, Aug. 30. Workers at the company in Kahului were unloading a container of ceramic tiles late that afternoon when they smelled an odor and thought they saw a critter in the container. They quickly closed the container and called agricultural inspectors at the Maui Plant Quarantine Branch of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA). Maui inspectors were dispatched to the company and set two traps in the container overnight and the apparent stowaway was found in one of the traps on Friday morning.

The skunk has been identified as a striped skunk weighing about five pounds. The skunk was sent to Oahu yesterday morning and is being tested for rabies. Results of the test are expected in a few days.

“We appreciate the quick reaction of the trucking crew in containing the animal and contacting HDOA inspectors,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, acting chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Had the animal escaped from the container, it would have been a much larger problem and we are grateful for their awareness and cooperation.”

In the case of stowaway animals, containment of the animal is critical and humans and other animals should not come into physical contact with it.

In February 2018, a live skunk was captured by stevedores at Pier 1 at Honolulu Harbor. That was the first recorded capture of a live skunk in Hawaii.

Skunks are prohibited in Hawaii 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. They are also one of the four wild animals considered to be the primary carriers of the rabies virus, a fatal viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free.

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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