By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be removing elephants from all of their shows, after 145 years of featuring the massive beasts.
Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, seven siblings known as the Ringling brothers turned their little touring company of performers into one of the most legendary circuses in America. Their show really took off when they merged with the Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was founded by Phineas Taylor “P.T.” Barnum in 1870 and eventually sold to the Ringling brothers.
Soon, the traveling American circus became known as “The Greatest Show on Earth”, as clowns, jugglers, and tamed animals dazzled audiences far and wide.
Elephants were among their biggest stars, no pun intended, but public concern about their treatment in captivity has led to a major shift in audience preferences. Despite weighing upwards of 12,000 pounds, elephants are gentle, highly intelligent creatures with strong family bonds. There are still 13 of them performing with the famous circus, but once they retire in 2018, they’ll be relocated to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. I guess Dumbo will finally be able to play Bingo with his buddies in a Florida retirement community!
Images courtesy of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Facebook.