Last dance: Final performance for Ringling Bros. elephants

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Elephants have given their final performance at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as the circus ends a practice that enthralled audiences for two centuries but has become caught between animal rights activists’ concerns and Americans’ shifting views.

Six Asian elephants danced, balanced on each others’ backs and sat on their hind legs during their last show in Providence, Rhode Island, on Sunday.

Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson called them “true American icons.”

Elephants have performed in American circuses for more than 200 years. But animal rights activists object to their use and dozens of cities have banned the use of bullhooks, used to train elephants

Elephant history author Ronald B. Tobias says people would rather see elephants in a natural habitat rather than in a circus or zoo.

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