CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Charleston will be one of the last cities where Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey features its famous elephant acts.
The touring circus show will perform eight shows from April 21 to 24 at the Charleston Civic Center with its Asian elephants before their final acts in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and Providence, Rhode Island, the following week. Elephants will be completely phased out of the circus’ performances in May — a year and a half earlier than expected.
The circus’ parent company, Feld Entertainment, announced last year that it would retire the elephants by 2018 and relocate them to the company’s Center for Elephant Conservation, in central Florida. On Monday, it was reported that the circus will end all elephant acts four months from now.
Feld Entertainment spokesman Stephen Payne said that after analyzing the space, pasture and water supply of the 200-acre conservation center, “we came to the conclusion that we could do this sooner than 2018.” The center currently holds 29 elephants.
A contributing factor in the company’s decision last year stemmed from increased public scrutiny…