The Ringling Bros. circus has officially retired all of its elephants

Yesterday marked a long-awaited, special day for circus elephants and animal lovers all over the world: The elephants of Ringling Bros. circus performed for the very last time.

Just a little over a year ago, bowing to public pressure and concerns of animal welfare enthusiasts, Ringling Bros. announced it would be phasing all elephants out of its shows by 2018. Then in January, they gave us the good news that the elephants would be retiring earlier than expected because accommodations for the animals would be finished ahead of the anticipated completion date. Well yesterday, these gorgeous animals took to the bigtop for their final performance. Today, they’re officially retired.

Three cheers for freedom!


Ringling Bros. live-streamed the farewell elephant performance on its Facebook page last night. Clearly there’s an enormous amount of love and public support for the elephants because this video has already been viewed over 250,000 times:

Now that the elephants are officially free, they’ll be moving to the 200-acre, state-of-the-art Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida, where they’ll be able to chill and hang out with the rest of the retired Ringling herd. Because circus elephants are so accustomed to living in captivity, releasing them into the wild is impossible. But the Center for Elephant Conservation sounds like the next best thing.

According to the center’s website, the elephants will spend their days in fields, playing in the sand and dirt. Moms and their calves have their very own pasture to romp around in, and everyone gets a daily bath. It basically sounds like elephant bliss after a long career of touring the country and living in small, enclosed spaces.


We couldn’t be happier for these amazing animals.