Ringling circus elephants to retire this weekend after show in Providence

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PROVIDENCE — The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its elephant acts and will retire the animals after Sunday’s show in Providence, Rhode Island. The circus is in Providence all weekend and will close out on Sunday.

The first Ringling Bros. show without the elephants will be right here in Hartford at the XL Center May 11-15.

Ringling Bros. will live stream the final curtain goodbye for their elephants Sunday on their Facebook page.

The circus’s parent company, Feld Entertainment, said the iconic elephants will be permanently retired to the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. There are 11 elephants currently on tour with the circus.

In early 2015, Feld executives told the AP that growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

Those 11 elephants will join the rest of the herd, bringing the total to 42 elephants on the property.

Feld owns the largest herd of Asian elephants in North America. It costs about $65,000 yearly to care for each elephant, and the company had to build new structures to house the retiring elephants at the center, located in between Orlando and Tampa.

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