Illegal Coconut Crab Found in Salt Lake and Emu Surrendered in Hilo

Posted on Dec 23, 2014 in Main

Dec. 23, 2014

HONOLULU — An illegal coconut crab was found in a Salt Lake neighborhood on Sunday by a resident who captured it with a cardboard box and called Plant Quarantine inspectors from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA).

The crab is dark brown in color, measures about 16 inches from leg-to-leg and weighs about three lbs. It was found crawling along Salt Lake Blvd. across from the resident’s home at about noon on Sunday. It is not known how it got there.

Coconut crabs are on HDOA’s list of restricted animals and may only be imported for research by universities or government agencies or for exhibition in municipal zoos or government-affiliated aquariums or for other institutions for medical or scientific purposes and requires the approval of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.

Coconut crabs are a species of land hermit crabs and are found in the Indian and central Pacific Ocean regions. Christmas Island is known for its large population of coconut crabs.

In a separate incident, a pet emu was turned in under amnesty to the Panaewa Zoo in Hilo on Dec. 5, 2014. Zoo officials said that a resident called the zoo saying they did not know that emus were illegal in Hawaii and arranged to turn it in. The Panaewa Zoo safeguarded the emu until it was transported to Honolulu. The emu is currently being held at the Honolulu Zoo.

Emus are also on the same import restriction list as the coconut crab.

Individuals who have illegal animals are encouraged to turn them in under the state’s Amnesty Program which provides immunity from prosecution. Illegal animals may be turned in to any HDOA office, humane society or municipal zoo. Anyone with knowledge of illegal animals is asked to call the state’s toll-free PEST HOTLINE at 643-PEST (7378)

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coconut crab 1 coconut crab 2
Coconut Crab is brown in color but appears bluish due to flash
Emu Emu2
Emu turned in under amnesty in Hilo