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Ringling Bros. eliminating elephant acts

Ringling Bros. eliminating elephant acts
Mabel, an 8-year-old Asian elephant, is offered a loaf of bread during a preview show at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. (Bob Mack / Associated Press)

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its iconic elephant acts.

The circus' parent company, Feld Entertainment, told The Associated Press exclusively that the acts will be phased out by 2018. Growing public concern about how the animals are treated led to the decision.

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The circus plans to phase out elephant acts by 2018. Feld's 43 elephants will live at the company's 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. Twenty-nine animals are already there, and the other 14 will arrive as they are phased out from the circus.

Elephant acts have been showcased by Ringling for more than a century and have often been featured in its posters.

The decision is being announced Thursday.

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