After a life of putting on performances, 35 circus elephants are finally getting a chance to live a happy life at a spacious conservation center in Florida. The elephants were bought by White Oak Conservation. The elephants, who were originally from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, were bought from the circus’s parent company, Feld Entertainment.
While the retirement for these elephants was a great day, it has been a long time coming. The process to get these elephants into their new home began five years ago when Feld Entertainment made the choice to phase out live animal performances. This particular group of Asian elephants is actually believed to be the biggest community within the Western Hemisphere.
But there is still a little ways to go as their new Florida home is still under construction with the intent to get them moved in early next year. The elephants will be able to enjoy 2,500-acres all to themselves. National Geographic has reported that the new residence will have different landscapes for the elephants to enjoy, such as wetlands, grasslands, woodlands, and 11 waterholes.
We have no doubt that they will be loving their new home so much!
The owners of the conservation center, Mark and Kimbra Walter, shared with White Oak Wildlife that their family is dedicated to working towards the improvement of elephants under their care as well as those trying to survive in the wild. Furthermore, the couple shared that elephants in the wild are facing many challenges such as the devastation of natural habitats as well poaching, which is why they want to do everything they can for these “majestic and intelligent” creatures. And that is very commendable.
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We have some BIG news! White Oak Conservation will soon be the new home for 30 Asian elephants – the largest Asian elephant herd in the Western Hemisphere! We have started construction on a new 2,500-acre home for Asian elephants. Most of these elephants previously traveled throughout the United States with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey until they were retired in 2016. The spacious habitats will give the elephants room to wander, exercise, and forage. White Oak’s philosophy is to accommodate natural behavior and social bonds as closely as possible. Family groups will be together, with calves and their mothers and siblings in the same areas as grandmothers wherever possible. There will be nine interlinked areas opened for the elephants. The area will include a variety of vegetation and habitat types for the elephants to choose from, including wetlands, meadows, and woods. We are excited to have the opportunity to provide these elephants with a new home. You can read more about it in the link in our profile. We will keep you updated here and on other social media as we move forward with the project. We appreciate your continued support! We couldn’t do it without you!
The president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Dan Ashe, shared with White Oak Wildlife that the AZA is 100% behind White Oak Conservation’s efforts for caring for elephants. Ashe added, “By providing these elephants the space to explore, to interact with one another, and to engage in natural behaviors, they are being given a key element in animal welfare and wellness — choice.”
This is wonderful news and will hopefully make other companies do the same as Feld Entertainment and retire live animal performances since all wild animals deserve to live lives of peace and tranquility. What do you think of the news? Let us know!
Anastasia is an American writer and journalist living in Dublin, Ireland. Her Twitter is @AnastasiaArell5.