HONOLULU (KHON2) — Invasive species have been an issue for Hawaiʻi’s ecosystem since the onslaught of colonization.
Raccoons, as adorable as they are, are considered to be an invasive species in Hawaiʻi.
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Raccoons are omnivorous. Their diets consist of plants, insects, birds, bird eggs, fish and small mammals; and they are known to carry rabies and other diseases.
Since Hawai‘i is the only state in the U.S. and one of the few areas in the world that is rabies-free, the need to ensure species like raccoons do not come into contact with local wildlife in the islands is imperative.
On Wednesday, March 29, the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture (HDOA) announced that a raccoon had been captured on Oʻahu.
According to the HDOA, the raccoon arrived on Oʻahu via a shipping container that was carrying household goods and furniture.
The HDOA said that the raccoon was spotted by moving crews as they were unloading the container at a residence in Iroquois Point.
Movers said they immediately closed the container and contacted HDOA’s Plant Quarantine Branch.
HDOA then sent out agricultural inspectors to set traps in the container for overnight capture.
Inspectors said that when they returned to the container the next morning that they discovered the raccoon deceased in the trap.
An HDOA veterinarian said the raccoon was a young female. It is currently being tested for rabies.
HDOA said that transportation records showed that the container had come from Maryland by way of California. It arrived in Honolulu Harbor on March, 19. They also said that the container had remained unopened during its transit to Hawaiʻi.
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A 2018 surveillance report by the American Veterinary Medical Association found that raccoons were responsible for 30% of the 5,000 cases found in wildlife.