Gov. David Ige has signed an amendment to Hawaii law, prohibiting the import of dangerous, wild animals for exhibition in circuses and carnivals in Hawaii.
Ige signed the amendment to the administrative rule last Friday, and the new rules go into effect 10 days after it is filed with the Lt. Governor’s office.
“The main issue is always public safety and health,” said Gov. Ige in a news release. “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 amended rules on animal importation were approved by the Hawaii Board of Agriculture in September and forwarded to the Governor for final approval.
Under the amended rules, “dangerous wild animals” are defined as “a non-domestic animal that can cause significant risk to animal and public health, according to the state Department of Agriculture. These include lions, tigers, cheetahs, along with bears, wolves, elephants, rhinos, hippos; crocodiles and alligators and non-human primates, including gorillas and chimpanzees.
The rule does allow the import of these types of animals for exhibition in government zoos and for the filming of television and movies under permit and conditions from the state Department of Agriculture.
“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, in a statement.
The issue was first heard by the Board in 2014, and although the petition was initially denied, the board requested that the state department of agriculture conduct further research, and the matter was heard at several public meetings before the final decision was made in September.