After years of fun fans under the big top — along with a couple of years ahead — at Central Florida, a herd of former circus elephants is settling in their new residence in a wildlife refuge.
The 12 female Asian elephants arrived in White Oak Conservation, outdoors Jacksonville, Florida, recently and were released to a forest habitat using pine trees, ponds, wetlands and open grasslands, according to an announcement in the refuge.
The elephants vary from 8 to 38-years-old and had previously belonged to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
They were all born in the United States and never lived in the wild, said Michelle Gadd, the chief of conservation for the Walter family, which owns White Oak Conservation and bought the animals from the circus.
“They are doing incredibly well. I am extremely surprised at how quickly they adapted to the surroundings, how readily they went out of the gates once the gates had been opened,” Gadd told CNN.
She was afraid they would just hang out around their own barn because they are used to being around people, however, Gadd said the elephants will sleep out in the woods and venture in their for a couple of days at a time.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey murdered its allies in 2016 after complaints about their treatment by animal rights organizations and groups . The circus gave its final performances in 2017 following over a 100 years of existence.