Denmark has announced it will spend 11 million kroner ($1.6 million) to give four circus elephants a proper retirement.
The elephants are the country’s last four circus elephants, and the move comes as the Danish government plans to ban the use of wild animals in circuses.
According to the country’s Food and Fisheries Minister, Mogens Jensen, the ban on wild animals in circuses is expected to come into action later this year.
The four elephants are named Ramboline, Lara, Djunga and Jenny. Earlier this week, the ministry said there are no immediate plans regarding where the elephants will live once they’ve retired, but said applicants willing to take the animals should offer ‘a timely takeover and proper welfare’, AP News reports.
Meanwhile, Circus Arena manager Benny Berdino said he was ‘sad to have to say goodbye’ to the elephants, though was happy they would all get a good retirement. Three of the elephants belonged to Circus Arena, while the fourth was part of Cirkus Trapez.
The Danish ministry said, via The Jakarta Post:
The elephants will be sent to the establishment that can offer them the highest level of well-being.
More than 40 countries have announced the restriction or banning the use of wild animals in circuses.
Earlier this year, the UK’s then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced a new Bill which will ban the use of wild animals in circuses across England.
The Wild Animals in Circuses Bill means that circus operators in England will no longer be able to use wild animals as part of a travelling circus, with the government saying this has ‘no place in modern society’.
In a statement provided by the government, Gove said:
Travelling circuses are no place for wild animals in the 21st century and I am pleased that this legislation will put an end to this practice for good.
Today’s announcement follows other measures we have taken to strengthen our position as a world leader on animal protection.
This includes our ban on ivory sales to protect elephants, and delivering Finn’s Law to strengthen the protection of service animals.
The announcement follows a commitment from the government in February 2018 to introduce a ban by January 2020, when existing regulations expire.
In February 2018, it was reported 94.5 percent of the public would support the ban, following in the footsteps of Scotland, where circus animals were banned in 2017.
Animal Welfare Minister David Rutley said:
The general public can still enjoy a trip to the circus, but it is good to know that wild animals will no longer be a part of that experience.
While the ban currently only applies to wild animals, other domestic animals such as horses, donkeys, and dogs will be inspected regularly by officials.
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