HONOLULU — Circus and carnivals in Hawaii can’t bring lions, tigers or bears in for the show thanks to updated state rules signed by Gov. David Ige, and the head of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture says it’s been a long time coming.
The amended rules define dangerous wild animals as a non-domestic animal that can cause significant risk to animal and public health — that includes lions, tigers, cheetahs, etc.; bears; wolves; elephants; rhinoceroses; hippopotamuses; crocodiles and alligators; and non-human primates.
“The decision process on this matter has been a long one with extensive efforts to gather public input,” said Scott Enright, chairperson of the Hawaii Board of Agriculture.
The rule does allow the import of these types of animals for exhibition in government zoos and for filming of television and movies under permit and conditions from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture.
The rules were approved by HBOA in September 2018 and signed by Ige Dec. 21. The issue was first heard by HBOA in 2014.
“The main issue is always public safety and health,” said Ige. “The concern of exhibiting dangerous animals in an environment where a large number of people may be exposed is significant enough to establish these rules.”
The law outlines precautions like animals being “adequately safeguarded” and “under the control of professional handlers”, as well as being permitted to travel to the state.