Fast-acting work crews prevented a mainland bat from escaping a container ship docked at Honolulu Harbor on Monday, according to state officials.
Crews aboard the Pasha Hawaii ship, which had arrived from San Diego, covered the approximately 3-inch-long black-and-brown live bat with a Styrofoam cup and then placed a cone and glove over the cup to contain it, according to a state Department of Agriculture statement today.
DOA inspectors responded, and officials at the Bishop Museum identified the bat Wednesday as a Western pipistrelle, which is found in the western United States and Mexico, according to the release.
Tissue samples from the bat were sent to a mainland laboratory which reported the results were negative for the rabies virus, state officials said. Hawaii is the only U.S. state known to be without rabies, and officials say its introduction on the islands would profoundly impact local wildlife.
There are also diseases in bats that pose a threat to the endangered native Hawaiian hoary bat, the release stated.
Officials encourage anyone who sees or captures illegal and invasive species to report it to the state’s toll-free “Pest Hotline” at 643-7378.