Ringling Bros. animals could end up in sanctuaries

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jan 16, 2017

It's the day animal rights activists have waited years for, and a sad day for others who grew up going to the circus.

Ringling Brothers announced it is shutting down its long-running circus, after 146 years.

There are still around 30 performances between now and the last show in May of 2017.

After that the question is, what happens to the animals?

The Wild Animal Sanctuary outside of Denver has taken in circus animals, including from Ringling Brothers, in the past.

Executive Director Pat Craig says the transition from a life on the road and in cages to one of wide open spaces can take some time.

"They were trained to perform for treats and other things - so the idea of working for their worth - and they get rewarded. For us to unwind all that and teach them that they don't have to work for food they can just enjoy life," Craig said.

Craig said the USDA normally works with sanctuaries to decide where the animals will go. The circus has pledged to find all the animals homes.