The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus had previously said that they would be phasing out the use of all elephants in their circus by 2018, but just announced Monday that all their elephants will be retired by May 2016 instead.

The 11 elephants that are currently on tour with the circus will be permanently moved to their elephant conservation center in Florida where they will live with 29 other elephants.

 

 

Alana Feld, Ringling Bros. Producer and Executive Vice President with Feld Entertainment says in a statement posted on the Center for Elephant Conservation's website:

“Our company and our family’s commitment to save the majestic Asian elephant will continue through our breeding program, research and conservation efforts at the Center. This transition will also allow us to fully focus on the role our elephants have in the pioneering pediatric cancer research project with Dr. Schiffman.”

 

Obviously, this announcement is a huge win for animal lovers and animal rights groups, but I can't help but wonder....will the circus ever be the same with the beloved elephants? Only time will tell, I guess.