A 15-pound adult female racoon was captured Monday after stowing away on a Matson cargo ship from Long Beach, Calif., the state Department of Agriculture said today.
The racoon was spotted scampering on the deck of the ship Monday afternoon, and Matson called the Agriculture Department, which sent out plant quarantine inspectors.
The inspectors captured the critter using a trap with food, the department said. They performed rabies tests on the racoon, and are awaiting the results from a mainland laboratory. Test samples were sent today.
Racoons can carry rabies and other diseases and pose a danger to ground-nesting birds and other endangered species, if they become established in Hawaii, said Janelle Saneishi, spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture.