Release: September 27, 2005
SECOND LIVE OPOSSUM FOUND IN AIRPORT AREA IN THREE MONTHS
HONOLULU - A live opossum was discovered by U.S. Postal Service (USPS) worker Sunday night (September 25th) in a trash bin in an outdoor loading area on the USPS property at Honolulu International Airport.
The postal worker reported that he was cutting straps from a pallet and as he went to throw the straps in the trash bin, he saw something moving inside the bin and recognized it as an opossum. He called a supervisor who reported it to agricultural inspectors at Honolulu International Airport, who captured the 15-pound animal. It is not known how the opossum arrived in Hawaii; however, the animal was found in an area where surface mail arriving via container ships is offloaded.
This is the second live opossum captured in the airport area in the past three months. On June 19th, members of a military air support group at Hickam Air Force Base cornered a live opossum in the cargo hold of a military chartered aircraft that arrived from California.
"In both incidents, quick action by airport-area workers resulted in the capture of these illegal animals,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Workers at all ports of entry are an important line of defense against the introduction of invasive species and we appreciate the postal worker’s alertness and responsiveness.”
The opossum captured on Sunday was black and white and measured about 24 inches in length from nose to tail. The opossum captured in June was grayish in color and measured about 12 inches in length. Both were males.
Opossums are native to North America and are omnivorous, with diets that range from insects, bird eggs, and rodents to fruits and vegetables. While opossums are less likely to carry rabies than other mammals, they are carriers of parasites and diseases. As a safeguard, the opossum was euthanized yesterday and tests for rabies were sent to the State Laboratory at the Hawaii Department of Health.
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