Danish government buys the country's last circus elephants to let them retire

The Danish government has purchased the country's last four circus elephants for 11 million kroner ($1.6 million) so they can retire.

The purchase of the elephants comes as the country moves towards banning the use of wild animals in circuses. The country's Food and Fisheries Minister, Mogens Jensen, said that this ban is likely going to come into effect at the end of 2019.

Circus elephants. Credit: Getty

While it's not known yet where Ramboline, Lara, Djunga, and Jenny will retire to, those applying to facilitate their retirement will have to take them into their care in a timely manner and provide them with everything they need for proper welfare, AP News reports.

Circus Arena manager Benny Berdino said he was "sad to have to say goodbye" to the animals, but is happy that they are going to have the best possible retirement.

The Jakarta Post reported the Danish Ministry saying: "The elephants will be sent to the establishment that can offer them the highest level of well-being."

Circus elephants. Credit: Getty

The move comes as an increasing number of countries, including England, ban or propose to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. Indeed, a circus in Germany recently took a stand on the issue by using holograms instead of living animals.

The UK's former Environment Secretary Michael Gove said in a government statement:

"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."

A woman sitting on a circus elephant. Credit: Getty

Scotland banned the use of wild animals in circuses back 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."

It is believed that England's ban will come into place in January 2020, which marks the expiration of its existing regulations.