Think About It: Bat, Man - KFVE, K5-Hawaii News Now, Local Programming

April 27, 2015

Think About It: Bat, Man

The ope'ape'a, otherwise known as the Hawaiian hoary bat, is now the official state land mammal. The bat is one of only two native mammals, the other being the Hawaiian Monk Seal, and like the monk seal, it is endangered, with its current habit believed to be reduced to Kauai and Hawaii Island. So what's so good about a bat, you ask?  Has the legislature gone completely batty?Well, the ope'ape'a does one heck of a job eating unwanted insects, so it provides a real value to us. It's the only bat we have here, and as you know, you can't play ball without a bat. It's endangered due to the intrusion of humans on its habitats and possibly due to pesticide use over the years. It's been here an estimated 10,000 years, or about 8,500 years before it's thought that man first set foot on our shores.

Bats have a bad reputation, due to buzzing people at campsites and that whole vampire thing, which seems to come around every decade or so with some horror or young adult movie remake, but these bats seem disinterested in the local human invaders, so no tales of fangs or night dwellers or Bela Lugosi  to report here just yet.  Now, along with the nene goose (bird), humpback whale (marine mammal), humhumunukunukuapua'a (fish), monk seal (mammal)  and Pulelehua (butterfly), this frosty-colored bat will join the ranks of official state animals.

If only it was this easy to come to official consensus on so many other issues of note confronting the legislature in the final 10-days of the 2015 session. The sheer amount of bills offered annually to appease constituents and the lack of quality time spent looking at some of the potentially vital offerings is enough to drive anyone batty, and you can go batty, you just won't be official doing so any more, unless you're an ope'ape'a. Think about it…

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