Ringling Bros. Elephants Get Early Retirement
The creatures will leave the circus in May 2016. Childhoos memories will be changed forever.
ELLENTON, FL — Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus fans who love to see Asian elephants on parade don’t have much longer to do so.
Feld Entertainment, the parent company of Ringling Bros., has announced a faster time table for taking the creatures out of its act. Feld revealed its plans to expedite the removal of elephants from its circus acts on Monday morning. The creatures who once performed will be move permanently to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk County in May 2016.
Ringling announced last March that it would stop using Asian elephants in its acts by 2018. The decision was prompted by growing public concern over the treatment of the animals on the road.
Alana Feld, the company’s executive vice president, acknowledged at the time that many people weren’t “comfortable” with the idea of the circus traveling with its elephants.
“This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers,” Kenneth Feld, chairman of the company, said in a statement last March.
In announcing the faster time table for the elephants’ retirement, Feld said the company’s staff had been able to make “necessary plans and preparations to move the elephants to the Center for Elephant Conservation much sooner than anticipated.”
“Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey brings families together to share in pure fun and wonder through live entertainment,” Alana Feld said in a statement about the new May 2016 deadline. “From now until May 2016, our elephants will continue to be a part of that wonderful experience, and we invite families that want to see our amazing elephants perform one last time to have an opportunity to do so.”
Moving the elephants to the conservation center will enable Ringling to advance its breeding program, Alana Feld said, while also helping with the center’s pediatric cancer research.
Since cancer is less common in elephants than in humans, studies of the creatures’ DNA are ongoing. Scientists have discovered a cancer-suppressing gene in elephants that may one day lead to better treatments in humans