Circus World prepares to retire elephants in 2023
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The historic site Circus World in Baraboo made several announcements Tuesday, including the retirement of its elephants next summer.
“So the decision to retire the elephants has been five years in the making,” said director Scott O’Donnell. “This summer, looking towards the fifth year to make sure that would be doable for the species, we brought in an independent third-party vet, an elephant expert.”
O’Donnell says as the elephants aged, it became time to consider retirement, so each of the past five summers, specialists, veterinarians, and experts checked the animals to see if they would return the following year. O’Donnell says the elephants were cleared for one final season this past summer.
“This staff, this town, everyone who loves elephants will have a final year to celebrate this wonderful species,” said O’Donnell.
According to Circus World, elephants have been a part of the Baraboo community since 1888. Following their retirement on August 27th, they will head to the Endangered Ark Foundation in Oklahoma, joining a herd there. While animal acts will continue at Circus World, the elephants will not be replaced.
“In our sphere, there are no circus elephants that are really left in America that are of an age, that are of a condition that they would be part of our daily guest experience,” said O’Donnell.
The venue also announced restorations coming, powered by two $500,000 “Save America’s Treasures” grants. The buildings around Circus World will be restored, and a year-round performance center will be added to the grounds, along with the facilities for a circus school, training the next generation of acts.
“It’s exciting to look to the future, to welcome the next generation of learning the circus arts.”
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