A live skunk was found trapped at the Kanaha Pond State Wildlife Sanctuary on Maui Monday morning, the state Department of Agriculture reported today.
Personnel from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources found the skunk in a trap that was set to catch feral cats and mongoose in the wildlife sanctuary area. It was euthanized and turned over to the DOA.
It’s not clear where the skunk came from, but the agricultural department said in January 2021 a skunk was reportedly spotted near the Maui Costco gas station, which is located near the sanctuary. Nine traps were set out for about three weeks to catch the skunk but were unsuccessful.
The skunk is being tested for rabies.
Skunks are prohibited in Hawaii and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo. They are one of four primary carriers of rabies, a fatal viral disease transmitted through bites. Hawaii is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few places in the world free of rabies, the DOA said.
Skunks also eat eggs and prey on birds that nest on the ground. Four live skunks have been found on Oahu’s Honolulu Harbor since February 2018. On Maui, a live skunk was found at the Kahului Harbor in December 2020 and captured at a trucking company in August 2018.
The Kanaha Pond Wildlife Sanctuary is the first wetland set aside for protection in Hawaii and provides critical nesting habitat for four species of waterbirds unique to Hawaii.