Hawaii Moves To Ban Wild Performing Animals

Hawaii likely will become the first U.S. state to ban the use of elephants, bears and other exotic wild animals for entertainment purposes.

The Hawaii Department of Agriculture board on Tuesday unanimously approved a proposed rules change that would define “dangerous wild animals” and prohibit the import of such animals “for exhibition or performance in public entertainment shows such as circuses, carnivals and state fairs.” The rules make exceptions for commercial filming in television or movies and in government zoos.

Animals listed in the proposal include big cats, primates, elephants, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bears, hyenas and crocodiles.

The move comes just three days after “Tyke Elephant Outlaw,” a documentary about a circus elephant that went on a deadly rampage in Honolulu two decades ago, made its Hawaii premiere.

Tyke, a 20-year-old female African circus elephant, escaped from the Neal Blaisdell Center after trampling a groomer and killing her trainer during a performance with Honolulu’s Circus International on Aug. 20, 1994. She charged down Honolulu streets before being gunned down by police.

“You could see blood and bullet holes,” Tyler Ralston, a witness, recalled in an interview with The Huffington Post.

In October 2014, the Humane Society of the United States and several other organizations petitioned the state agriculture department to add dangerous wild animals to its list of prohibited species.

Inga Gibson, Hawaii senior state director for the Humane Society, told HuffPost the issue is not only one of animal welfare, but also public health and safety. And in Hawaii — a state well known for its spirit of aloha and values of respect for the environment — the ban is a “long time coming,” she said.

“We’re hoping of course that Hawaii will set an —> Read More

Scientists Shocked (And Thankful) These Cyclones Missed Hawaii

Hawaii is a small target in the massive Pacific Ocean, but scientists are nevertheless impressed that the islands escaped a record-breaking cyclone season unscathed.

To illustrate just how lucky the Aloha State has been, the National Weather Service released the below image, which combines the infrared imagery of 15 tropical cyclones in the Central North Pacific Basin this year.

See Hawaii all safe and cozy there in the middle? Apparently, the state can thank good old-fashioned luck for that.

“Any island can be hit,” the U.S. National Weather Service Honolulu and Central Pacific Hurricane Center posted on Facebook, “we have just been very lucky this year. In the words of our Science and Operations Officer, Robert Ballard, it’s not ‘if’, it’s ‘when.’

A stronger-than-usual El Niño is reportedly responsible for the record-breaking cyclone season. El Niño — a weather phenomenon that happens when sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean are warmer than usual — can wreak havoc on seasonal weather patterns across the globe, including floods in the Americas, droughts in Asia and Australia, disrupted fishing, and disease outbreaks.

California, for example, is preparing for a big snow season thanks to the weather pattern, while Indonesia has already seen massive forest fires from the drought conditions.

According to the Los Angeles Times, El Niño’s effects are so far-reaching that “some researchers argue it doubles the risk of war in much of the Third World.”

And this year’s El Niño hasn’t peaked yet. The phenomenom “will strengthen slightly before the end of the year,” according to the World Meteorological Organization, and may persist until spring.

Which means that while some impacts — like Hawaii’s many, many near-misses — are already —> Read More

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