DENVER (CBS4)– For more than 130 years, elephants have been a part of the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus. But not anymore.
With their latest show, “Out of This World,” the circus owned by Feld Entertainment, is taking a step towards a human-only circus, much along the lines of Cirque du Soleil.
“You know, it was time,” said circus ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson. “And it really opened up a door for us to try something that American audiences have never seen before.”
American circus tradition has always had a focus on animal acts. But times have changed, attitudes have changed for animal acts and concern for the animals has grown.
“I think at the root of it is really a focus on conservation. I mean, as many people know, elephants in the wild are severely endangered,” said Iverson. “There are few organizations in the world that are legitimately combating the issue and we’ve been at it since 1995.”
The circus still features a lion and tiger act, a horseback riding act and a dog act. The show also features more story line, more thrill acts, more music and special effects.
“The show is the star. The show has always been the star,” said Iverson. “If you really think about it, it’s always the show that’s the star.”
All the elephants have been moved to the Ringling Conservation Center in Florida where they will live out their days.
The circus will be at the Denver Coliseum from Sept. 30 through Oct. 9.