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March 05, 2015 09:55 PM

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus announced on Thursday plans to eliminate all elephant acts by 2018.

According to Mashable, the choice to end the iconic animal numbers is due to growing public concern about the treatment the elephants receive.

Feld Entertainment, the circuses’ parent company, said the plan is to phase out the acts over the next three years. Elephants removed from the circus will be taken to Feld’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida to enjoy the rest of their lives.

The company has 43 elephants under its care, and 29 of the animals are already living at the center.

This announcement follows recent protests from PETA, who criticized the circus for how it handles the animals, especially when they are pregnant.

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