NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Greatest Show on Earth will soon lose some of its majestic performers, as Asian elephants make their last performances.
As CBS2’s Magdalena Doris took the elephants out to brunch Wednesday before their final bow in New York.
There is nothing, of course, like the excitement of the circus – all the sights, and the performers it brings.
“Lions and tigers and elephants,” said young Braden Nunez, who recently saw the circus.
But in a few months, elephants will have to be crossed off that list. The Greatest Show on Earth is closing the curtain on its biggest performers.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus decided to retire the last 11 working Asian elephants in its company two years early. In May, they will be moved to a 200-acre conservation park in Florida.
CBS2’s Doris caught up with the elephants, some trainers and a clown as the animals enjoyed a brunch of apples, watermelon and other fruit.
When the elephants make their final stop on their last tour, representatives said they won’t be finished with work on the preservation — they’ll be doing research.
“Dr. Shipman has discovered elephants rarely get cancer,” said Stephen Payne, vice president of communications for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey parent company Feld Entertainment. “We’re working with Dr. Shipman to see if we might be able to find novel new treatments for cancer for kids, and perhaps for everyone.”
But animal rights activists said medical research is no way for the endangered animals to live
“The problem with the testing is that they’re not free to live their lives as elephants,” said Julie Cappiello, campaign organizer for the animal rights group NYCLASS.
Parents who spoke to CBS2 said they want what’s best for the elephants, though they would miss the pachyderm performers.
“But at the same time I grew up with them,” said Rigoberto Nunez. “I grew watch to the Ringling, Barnum and Bailey Circus since I was a kid with my parents, so it’s a little bit of nostalgia.”
You have just over a week to relive all the memories. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be in the Tri-State Area until March 15.