Victory! Hawaii’s Governor Pledges to End Wild Animal Acts

In more good news for animals in entertainment, Hawaii has become the latest state to pledge to permanently end wild animal acts.

Animal lovers and advocacy organizations are applauding the move and hope that Tonk, Maggie and Yogi, three grizzly bears who are headed to the 50th State Fair later this month, will be the last to be featured in the state.

“Wild animals have no place in which the sole purpose is entertainment and such practices are being banned throughout the U.S. and the world. Such entertainment comes at a significant price of suffering for the animals involved. That suffering is exacerbated because of Hawaii’s location that requires arduous travel across land and sea,” said Pamela Burns, Hawaiian Humane Society’s president and CEO.

As we continue to learn more about the toll that performing takes on animals, more and more people are opposing their use in entertainment. So far, more than 40 cities in the U.S. and 30 countries around the world have ended the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes and the numbers are increasing.

Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus announced it will retire its elephant performers. In March, a Pennsylvania senator pledged to end their use in the state and has officially introduced legislation to get it done, while officials on the federal level have introduced a bill to ban wild animals in circuses throughout the U.S.

Sadly, the long overdue change in Hawaii doesn’t come without a history of tragedy. On August 20, 1994 a female African elephant named Tyke met a horrifying end captured on film after she snapped during a performance in Honolulu.

After seriously injuring her groom, she killed her trainer in front of the audience and then escaped into the city. She later died on the street in a hail of gunfire.

The tragedy in Honolulu wasn’t Tyke’s first troubling incident either. She had gone on two similar rampages the year before in Pennsylvania and North Dakota before she was killed in Hawaii. Had anyone respected her previous attempts to say no, the tragedy in Honolulu could have been avoided.

Now elephants may just get their Blackfish moment, thanks to documentary filmmakers Susan Lambert and Stefan Moore, along with co-producer Megan McMurchy, who are telling her story through Tyke Elephant Outlaw, which premiered at the Sarasota Film Festival in Florida last month.

They tell her story from start to finish through the eyes of the people who knew her and from the perspective of activists who have been fighting to end the exploitation of elephants.

“Each of them related to what happened to Tyke in different ways, yet each has a profound and abiding connection to her,” said Moore. “Twenty years after the harrowing events in Honolulu, Tyke’s legacy lives on in the global battle over the use of performing animals in captivity.”

The events in Honolulu incited numerous lawsuits against the city, state and the Hawthorn Corporation, which owned Tyke, in addition to the later removal of 16 elephants from the Hawthorn Corp as part of a settlement reached in a case alleging abuse and has added to the ongoing dialogue about what’s acceptable when it comes to keeping and using these animals.

Hopefully Tyke’s story, and dozens of others like hers, will continue to drive change for elephants and other animals who have been reduced to ridiculous caricatures of their natural selves and have suffered the injustice of being denied everything that would make them healthy and happy.

For more info about the documentary and upcoming screenings, visit

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Elaine D
Elaine D2 years ago

Thank you

Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

Hawaii is no paradise since the Monsanto and Chemical corporation crooks have gained a lethal stranglehold on it. They are deliberately killing off its native fauna and flora and the political crooks in Hawaii from the mainland are sponsoring them.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner3 years ago

The murdering scum who killed Tyke in a "hail of gunfire" should have been the ones who died in a hail of gunfire. And that "trainer" deserved his death.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik3 years ago

Thank You for sharing such a good news:)

Peter H.
Peter H.3 years ago

What about selling animals for consumption only?

What is the relationship between Q fever, Hepatitis E, Influenza A, MERS, SARS, Ebola, AIDS, Bubonic Plague, Lung and Breast cancer ...

The greatest common denominator is Breeding and the Mass Selling of animals for consumption only:
goats respectively; pigs and rabbits; camels; civets; fruit bats and chimpanzees; gerbils; tropical birds and laying hens ...

refer for further explanation


With kind regards, Peter A.J. Holst MD PhD

Dianne D.
Dianne D3 years ago

a very wise compassionate man.

Julia Cabrera-Woscek

Oh Gosh, I remember this when it happened. I do not need to see again, thank Goodness. So sad for the creature and Happy that Hawaii is moving upwards!

Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Such a sad end for Tyke. Elephants deserve better.

mari s.
Mari S3 years ago

I love Tyke -- she & ALL elephants deserve their natural habitats, their friends & families, their community, happiness & comfort. We should ensure they receive this -- anything less, will not do!