Endangered Hawaiian hoary bat to be named official state land ma - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Endangered Hawaiian hoary bat to be named official state land mammal

Hawaiian hoary bat Hawaiian hoary bat
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

The endangered Hawaiian hoary bat will be named Hawaii's official state land mammal.

Gov. David Ige will sign Senate Bill 1183 – designating the opeapea as the official state land mammal -- on Wednesday, a bill that took four years to pass. Sen. Sam Slom, who introduced it, said the opeapea is worthy of the title because “it has been here for so long, and faithfully provides free pest control services to us all. Most importantly, this bipartisan effort to elevate the bat's status to state land mammal will increase awareness of the environmental issues affecting its survival."

Opeapea means half leaf because its wings look like half a taro leaf. It's Hawaii's only native land mammal and is a subspecies found only in Hawaii. Fossils offer evidence that the opeapea has been in Hawaii as early as 10,000 years ago.

The nocturnal mammal is insectivorous and enjoys feasting on mosquitoes, moths, beetles, termites and flies. It can fly up to 60 miles per hour and is the only animal capable of sustained flight.

The opeapea will join the Kamehameha butterfly, humpback whale, nene goose, monk seal and humuhumunukunukuapuaa on the list of official Hawaii state animals. 

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