Hawaiian Hoary Bat in flight

Welcome to the Hawaiian Hoary Bat Fan Site. This site has been set up to recognize the Hawaiian Hoary Bat as the official Land Mammal for the State of Hawaii. Photo by Jack Jeffrey Photography.

“The arrival and establishment of bats in Hawai‘i is perhaps among the most spectacular over-water colonization events in mammalian history. The Hawaiian island archipelago is 2400 miles from the nearest landfall on the North American continent. The distances to other large land masses such as Australia, New Guinea, or Asia are even larger. To our knowledge, two bat species have colonized Hawai‘i since these volcanic sea mount islands arose from the ocean depths. One successful colonization was the Pleistocene Era arrival of the lava-tube bat which survived on Hawai‘i until about 6,000 years ago. This extinct species currently is being described by scientists from the Bishop Museum, American Museum of Natural History, and U.S. Geological Survey. A later arrival, around the end of the Pleistocene (9 to 10 thousand years before present) was the hoary bat from North America. Ōpe‘ape‘a (oh-pay-ah-pay-ah) was the name given to this bat by the early Hawaiians. Over the last few thousand years, isolated in the Hawaiian islands, Ōpe‘ape‘a have decreased in weight by about 30%, become more acrobatic in flight, and have lost much of the white frosting on the fur that its ancestors had. This Hawaiian subspecies (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) of the hoary bat is listed as endangered by both the Hawaii Department of Forestry and Wildlife and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

— Excerpt from the “Natural History and Migration of the Endangered Ōpe‘ape‘a in Hawai‘i” by Frank J. Bonaccorso, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecologist, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, U. S. Geological Survey/BRD

For more information about the Hawaiian Hoary Bat please visit the links to the left side of this entry. We will be posting more information and news about the Hawaiian Hoary Bat and the status of a bill we will be introducing to name the Hawaii Hoary Bat as the official Land Mammal for the State of Hawaii.

About this blog: This blog is published by the office of State Senator Sam Slom who is the sponsor of the bill and supporter of the Hawaiian Hoary Bat.

SB 775 Passes TEC Committee Vote

SB 775 which will declare the Hawaiian Hoary Bat (Ope’ape’a) as the official State Land Mammal got out of the Senate with a curious vote count of 17 to 8. The bill which was introduced by Senator Slom and has wide support from the DLNR, scientists, conservationists and many individuals got negative votes mainly from Senators Baker, English, Galuteria, Green, Hee, Kahele, Solomon, and Taniguchi. The bill is now in the House and has been referred to the House Committee on Veterans, Military, & International Affairs, & Culture and the Arts as well as to the House Finance Committee.

Photo: Photo of Senator Sam Slom, Legislative aide Matt Rapoza (in the bat t-shirt), Senator Clarence Nishihara and a Dept. of Land & Natural Resources official shortly after the Hawaiian Hoary Bat bill passed out of the Senate’s Technology & the Arts committee. Photo by Cassie from the Senate Communications Office.

If you are a fan of the Hawaiian Hoary Bat, please be sure to call  or write members of the WMI committee so that the bill can be heard,

SB 775 was introduced to designate the Hawaiian Hoary Bat as the State Land Mammal. The bill has been referred to the Senate Technology and Arts committee and will be up for a hearing on Thursday, February 21 at 1:15pm. The hearing notice is pending.

Senator Slom introduced the original bill in 2011 as SB 878 which was heard and passed out of the Hawaiian Affairs committee, only to be stalled in the Judiciary and Labor committee.

SB 775

Report Title: Hawaiian Hoary Bat; State Land Mammal
Description: Designates the Hawaiian hoary bat as the state land mammal.
Package: None
Current Referral: TEC
Introducer(s): SLOM, Keith-Agaran, Tokuda, Wakai


The face only a mother could love!

Hawaiian Hoary bat or ʻŌpeʻapeʻa (Lasiurus cinereus semotus)
Laupahoehoe Reserve, Hawai’i