In response to reports of animal cruelty and premature elephant deaths involved in the practice, 16 countries have now banned the use of wild animals in circuses: Austria, Bolivia, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Peru, Portugal, Sweden, Singapore, India, and Israel. Many localities in Canada and numerous counties in the U.S. have also adopted bans. The U.K. is set to ban the use of wild animals in circuses, as well, in December 2015.
After 145 years of elephant acts, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, announced a plan on March 5, 2015 to retire its elephants by 2018. "This decision was not easy, but it is in the best interest of our company, our elephants and our customers," said Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey's parent company, Feld Entertainment. The company plans to focus its energy on conservation programsand will send the 13 Asian elephants, who are part of its traveling troupe, to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida.