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Ringling Bros. Elephants to Get an Early Retirement

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(CNN) — The storied elephants at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus are set to retire by May, a year and a half ahead of what was expected.

The circus’ parent company made the announcement Monday.

“In March of last year, Feld Entertainment announced all of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s touring elephants would move to the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation by 2018.

“Since then, the company’s dedicated staff has made the necessary plans and preparations to move the elephants to the Center for Elephant Conservation much sooner than anticipated,” Feld Entertainment said.

When the initial retirement announcement was made in March, Ringling Bros. had 13 elephants traveling for its shows. When they are moved, 42 Asian elephants will call the Conservation Center home.

The 200-acre center was created in 1995 as a facility for the care and study of Asian elephants. It is in rural central Florida.