After years of protests from the Humane Society and other animal activists, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are retiring their elephants.

According to the Associated Press, the gentle giants delivered their final performance on the evening of May 1, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island. Johnathan Lee Iverson, the circus’s ringmaster, “closed [the show]...by calling the animals beloved members of the circus family and thanking them for more than 100 years of service.”

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But activists have been demanding that this tradition end for years, and though “more than a dozen other circuses continue with elephant acts,” Ringling Bros. is the most well-known, and the widest-travelled. It’s a big move in the direction of animal protection.

The animals will be transported to Florida, where they will live out their days at Ringling’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation. You can see footage from their last show in the video posted above.


Video via YouTube.