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Ringling Bros. Retiring All Circus Elephants By May 2016

70 year-old female Asian elephant, Mysore, at Ringling's Center for Elephant Conservation.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey now says it will retire all of its elephants from the circus by May. The company initially planned to get its Asian elephants off the road by 2018.

The elephants will spend the rest of their days at Ringling’s Center for Elephant Conservation in Polk City. The company said preparations at the center moved faster than expected. Ringling’s director of animal stewardship Janice Aria said the end of elephant shows is bittersweet.

“Having had years of experience of seeing people respond as they do to the sight of an elephant, let alone a few elephants, let alone a line of elephants, I know that people will miss that,” said Aria.

Ringling said it’s ending elephant shows because of shifting consumer preferences. A handful of U.S. cities have banned an elephant training tool called a bullhook, saying it’s abusive.

The 11 remaining circus elephants will join 29 of their peers already living in Polk City.


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