Circuses will be banned from using wild animals in their shows from the new year. The Agriculture Minister says there was "widespread public support" for the move.
Michael Creed, who signed the regulation, confirmed it will apply to all wild animals including elephants, camels and tigers.
The Minister said it "wasn't tenable" for a travelling circus to fully provide for the animals' needs.
John Carmody from the Animal Rights Action Network described it as a "meaningful and real step" to stop the suffering of wild animals forced to travel and perform.
PETA Director Elisa Allen said, until now, animals travelling with circuses had been "chronically frustrated, stressed, and depressed" from a "lifetime of being denied the opportunity to do anything that's natural and important to them".