Magazine

May 4, 2016

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire

The last 11 elephants touring with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus take a final bow, retiring to an elephant conservation in Florida and ending a 145-year spectacle. About time.

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
1

A performer waves as she rides an elephant during a performance in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
2

Elephants perform during Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
3

Elephant headdresses are hung on a rack following a performance at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
4

An elephant kicks a ball toward attendees during a performance in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
5

Elephants are led back to their tent following a performance at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
6

A performer waves as she rides an elephant during a performance in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
7

Senior Elephant Handler Alex Petrov prepares an elephant for a performance at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
8

Elephants are led to the arena before performing in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
9

An elephant stands in its pen before Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
10

An elephant is groomed before performing in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
11

An elephant stands in the entrance of the arena during pre-show entertainment at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
12

Kelly Ann, an elephant from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, is petted by children during a promotional event linked to the Brazil 2014 World Cup, in Los Angeles MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
13

Handlers wash a performing elephant in preparation for its activities and performances for the day at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
14

An elephant has its toenails cleaned in preparation for their activities and performances for the day at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
15

Sixth generation circus performer Tabayara Maluenda waves after riding a performing elephant in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
16

An elephant watches from backstage during the pre-show entertainment at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
17

Circus performer Hanna Fatieiva poses with the performing elephants at Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
18

An elephant paints a canvas before Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
19

Elephants perform during Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
20

Elephants perform during Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
21

Senior Elephant Handler Ryan Henning presents the elephant act in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
22

Elephants perform in Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus' "Circus Extreme" show at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
23

Elephants head to the arena for the matinee on the final day for the performing elephants in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
24

A circus performer sits on an elephant before the matinee on the final day for performing elephants in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
25

The performing elephants exit the arena during the matinee on their final day of shows in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
26

The performing elephants enter the arena for the matinee on their final day of shows in the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
27

An elephant stands in the arena entrance in its final show for the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
28

A clown embraces Senior Elephant Handler Alex Petrov ahead of the performing elephants' final show for the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

The Ringling circus elephants finally get to retire
29

Elephant crew member Adria Cuellar pets a performing elephant before its final show for the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, U.S. ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

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