Live skunk captured on Maui

  • A live skunk was captured Tuesday morning at a maritime container yard at Pier 1 in Kahului on Maui, the state Department of Agriculture reports. (Courtesy photo/Special to West Hawaii Today)

A live skunk was captured Tuesday morning at a maritime container yard at Pier 1 in Kahului on Maui, the state Department of Agriculture reports.

The skunk was spotted roaming around in the container yard and reported to harbor security by a biologist surveying for stranded sea bird fledglings, the Department of Agriculture said. Harbor security personnel subsequently contacted the department’s Maui plant quarantine inspectors, who immediately responded, cornered and captured the animal around 8 a.m.

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The skunk measured about 15 inches from head to tail. A test for rabies will be sent to a mainland laboratory, according to the Department of Agriculture. Inspectors surveyed the area and found no other skunks.

The circumstances behind how and when the skunk could have made its way to Maui remain under investigation.

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, according to the Department of Agriculture. In August 2018, another live skunk was found in a container at a trucking company on Maui. Both tested negative for rabies, the department said.

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Skunks, one of the four wild animals considered to be the primary carriers of the rabies virus, are prohibited in Hawaii and are only allowed by permit for research and exhibition in a municipal zoo.

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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