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Herd Of Former Circus Elephants Arrives At Florida Sanctuary Built Just For Them

Dan

A big herd of former circus elephants — 35 in all — is getting used to life at their new digs.

These elephants once performed at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but thanks to the circus (finally) opting to remove elephants from its show, they needed a new home.

Elephants were once a mainstay of the circus.

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Over the decades, the optics started to change. Using elephants as entertainment, and moving them around the country in small containers, was increasingly recognized as the animal cruelty that it is.

After more than a century of including elephants in their live circus act, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey retired their elephants in 2016.

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These former circus elephants can now roam free.

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After their retirement, they were taken to a small wildlife preserve near Orlando, Florida. From there, a nonprofit bought the elephants and immediately went to work on creating a new habitat.

The beasts are now at White Oak Conservation in Florida, a large area where they can roam freely, and — crucially — roam as a herd.

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Right now, only twelve are at the sanctuary.

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The rest of the herd will arrive soon enough, as additional areas are completed.

"We are thrilled to give these elephants a place to wander and explore," said philanthropists Mark and Kimbra Walter in a statement.

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It's the best possible outcome for the elephants.

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"We are working to protect wild animals in their native habitats," the statement continues.

"But for these elephants that can't be released, we are pleased to give them a place where they can live comfortably for the rest of their lives."

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They'll have everything they need.

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The group is getting on well, establishing their hierarchy and enjoying the space the sanctuary provides.

h/t: White Oak Conservation

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