Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Airport workers see man playing with live bat

A live bat was found near the interisland terminal at Honolulu International Airport on Monday afternoon.  

Airport security personnel saw a man playing with the bat and tossing it in the air outside of the lobby near Baggage Claim B. 

The bat was recovered by security personnel and turned over to the Transportation Safety Administration which called inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.

The bat died overnight and a necropsy was conducted Tuesday by state veterinarians. 

The Department of Health’s laboratory completed rabies tests which were negative for the virus.
Identification of the species of the bat is ongoing, but local authorities believe the bat is not a Hawaiian hoary bat.  

The bat was brown in color and had a wingspan of about nine inches. It is not known where the bat came from or how it got to the airport.

“Keeping Hawaii rabies free is one of the highest priorities of the Hawaii Department of Agriculture,” said Russell S. Kokubun, Chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture. “Incidents like this remind us that it is not just a concern for animal health, but also human health.” 

Rabies is a viral disease of mammals most often transmitted through the bite of a rabid animal. Hawaii is the only state and one of the few places in the world that is rabies free.

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