Ringling Bros. to phase out elephants by 2018

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced that beginning in 2018, elephants will no longer be a part of the circus act.

The Feld Family, the Ringling Bros. parent company, announced in a press release today that the 13 elephants currently traveling with the circus will move to Florida to join the 40 elephants currently located at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant for Conservation.

The move, the company said, is due to concerns over the treatment of the animals and will allow the Feld family to focus on its Asian elephant conservation program. None of the other animals in the circus will be affected.

“This is the most significant change we have made since we founded the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in 1995,” chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment Kenneth Feld said in the release. “When we did so, we knew we would play a critical role in saving the endangered Asian elephant for future generations, given how few Asian elephants are left in the wild.”

According to NPR, Feld Entertainment has come under scrutiny for the company’s treatment of the animals, which led to the creation of Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant for Conservation, a 200-acre facility in Polk City, Florida. Humane Society CEO Wayne Pacelle told NPR this news is “almost like the [fall of] the Berlin Wall within the animal welfare [community.]”

Support PBS NewsHour: