(TMU) — In an incredible gesture, the government of Denmark has purchased the country’s last circus elephants in order to ensure that they enjoy a proper retirement.
While the four elephants—Ramboline, Djunga, Lara and Jenny—are now government property, they are sure to enjoy comfortable homes for their remaining years.
The country’s Ministry of Environment and Food has paid the two circuses 11 million Danish krone—equivalent to $1.6 million USD—for the creatures, according to the BBC.
The elephants’ future had been up in the air due to an impending ban on wild animals in circuses that the Danish government will be rolling out this year.
The elephants will be taken care of by animal rights group Dyrenes Beskyttelse (Animal Protection Denmark) until the state finds a facility that can treat the former captives with “the highest level of welfare,” reports the Copenhagen Post.
Government of #Denmark to propose ALL wild animal #circusban. Currently elephants, zebras & sea lions are still permitted. It will also buy the country’s 4 remaining circus elephants, including Ramboline pictured, who will likely be relocated to a zoo. pic.twitter.com/Od5PfAr3JZ
— ADI (@AnimalDefenders) September 5, 2019
Some taxpayers have been peeved by the final price tag of the four elephants, however, which was reportedly far higher than the initial government offer.
The elephants will be moved in four to eight months to their permanent facility and Benny Berdino, the manager of Circus Arena and former owner of three of the elephants, hopes that the elephants can soon “enjoy their retirement.”
Circus Arena, following in the footsteps of Germany’s Circus Roncalli, has opted to use 3D holographic projections rather than live animals in their performances.
In December, New Jersey and Hawaii both became the first states in the U.S. to issue legislation banning the use of circus animals, which campaigners have denounced as a systematized form of animal cruelty. The new measures ban all wild animal species including elephants, bears, tigers, lions, bears, and primates from circuses and traveling shows.
Jan Creamer, the president of Animal Defenders International, has strongly supported circuses’ adoption of cruelty-free entertainment rather than the traditional use of animals in big-top shows. In June, the animal rights advocate commented:
“Thankfully the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform.
This is the future of circus—a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment.”
Over 40 countries around the world, with roughly half of them in Europe, have either totally banned or heavily restricted the use of wild animals for entertainment purposes in venues such a circuses or zoos.