Backstage with Ringling Bros. Circus Elephants

When I posted about going to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents LEGENDS show, I received an email saying how mistreated the animals are.

I also saw online friends posting on social networks that they would never go to the circus (for various reasons). I was surprised by these reactions, but I really shouldn't have been.

Note: I was invited as media to this event. No other compensation was received. Any personal views expressed are always 100% my own.

For years now there's been tension between the circus and animal rights advocates. Can I say who's right or wrong? No. I can only share with you what I learned and saw for myself during a backstage tour.

Backstage with Ringling Bros Circus Elephants

During the tour I was invited to ask questions and take a look at the animals myself. I met with one of the trainers, one of the veterinarians and a group of Ringling elephants.

I learned about the elephants personalities. This group is all females of various ages. They like to play games and can be creative with their "toys". One elephant put a log in a tire, which now travels with them.

I learned how the elephants are trained. The elephants acts are based off natural moments and actions the animals do in the wild. They start their training when they mature but baby elephants tend to emulate and follow what their mothers do. So ironically they learn tricks way before their actual training starts.

Backstage with Ringling Bros Circus Elephants

the famous log in the tire "toy"

Then I asked about the animal cruelty allegations....

The trainer explained that a staff of animal and medical experts travel with the circus and provide the nutritional, medical and emotional needs of the animals, especially the elephants.

But this is not just based on the words of Ringling Bros. It's supported by the tons of paperwork and regulations that the circus have to stay in compliance with. For every state that Ringling Bros. performs in, they have to adhere to the laws for animal safety.

So why still all the issues?

Various reasons but one of the main ones is that some animal rights groups don't want animals in the circus. Period. But the flip side of the coin is that many animals can't survive in the wild anymore due to loss of habitat, natural disasters and animal poaching.

The Asian elephant, which are types in Ringling Bros shows, has been on the endangered species list for 32 years!

Backstage with Ringling Bros Circus Elephants

To help safeguard these animals, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation was established in 1995. Located in central Florida, this state-of-the-art facility is dedicated to the conservation, breeding and understanding of these amazing animals.

At the Elephant Conservation, there has been successful breeding and birthing of Asian elephant, which insure they will continue to be around to amaze the next generations of families both inside and outside the circus.

I'm thankful that Ringling Bros. allowed me this opportunity to learn for myself about the lives of their amazing Elephants.

To learn more about visit Ringling Bros Animal Care FAQ

To learn more Ringling Bros. Elephant Conservation, visit -

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