(NBC News) What’s been a tradition at the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus for nearly 150 years is all coming to an end on Sunday. Elephants will be performing for the final time in that circus.
After Sunday’s show, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will send the elephants into retirement at its 200 acre conservation center in Florida.
“This was really in the best interest of the elephants, in the best interest of our company and the best interest of audiences,” said Alana Feld, producer of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Animal rights activists have long alleged mistreatment of the elephants, which Ringling Brothers has always denied. Tighter local ordinances on exotic animals in many cities have also hastened the elephants’ exit, which was originally slated for 2018.