A container ship from San Diego arrived in Honolulu on Tuesday morning with an unlikely visitor on board: A small bat.
“Even one small animal, like this bat, can introduce diseases to Hawaii that may pose threats of disease to humans, as well as other animals and native species,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
The brown and black bat was found and captured by the Pasha Hawaii ship crew and officials from the department were called to the scene.
Tissue samples of the bat were sent back to the mainland to inspect for potential diseases – specifically rabies.
“We appreciate the sharp eyes and swift action taken by the Pasha Hawaii crew,” said Enright.
As one of the only remaining rabies-free states, the state Agriculture Department takes special precaution against illegal and invasive species.
The Western pipistrelle, about three inches long, can usually be found in the United States and Mexico.