Hawaii to prohibit import of wild animals for entertainment

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that he plans to end the practice of bringing wild animals to the state for entertainment reasons.

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HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced Thursday that he plans to end the practice of bringing wild animals to the state for entertainment reasons.

The change could make the three bears expected to perform at this summer’s 50th State Fair the last such performances in the state, reports the Honolulu Star Advertiser.

“Unfortunately, (Ige’s) decision came too late for three bears who are currently en route from Florida to Hawaii,” said Inga Gibson, the state director for the Humane Society of the United states, in a statement.

“These bears now represent the final chapter in our state’s history of allowing such outdated and unnecessary exhibits,” she said.

It’s not clear yet whether Hawaii’s ban will include animals like dolphins, sea lions and penguins that are imported to large aquariums and then perform.

Several animal rights organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States, pushed for the prohibition and will work with the state Department of Agriculture to change the rules.

Until then, the state is expected to simply reject permit requests.

The animal rights organizations said more than 40 U.S. cities and 30 countries now prohibit using wild animals for circuses and similar performance acts.

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Animal Rights Hawaii President Cathy Goeggel said action should have been taken 20 years ago.

At that time, a circus elephant named Tyke trampled a trainer to death, severely injured a groomer and ran through the streets of Kakaako before being shot by police officers 87 times.

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