Here's What Life Will Be Like For Retired Ringling Elephants

This March, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made the surprising announcement that it would retire its remaining 13 elephants over a three-year period.

Unfortunately, life after the circus doesn't look as bright for these elephants as some would hope. On Thursday, National Geographic released an exclusive look inside the property where these elephants will spend their lives after retirement.

Although the elephants will no longer be performing in shows, they will join 30 other elephants at Ringling's own Center for Elephant Conservation(CEC), a 200-acre "state-of-the-art facility" - just 20 miles from SeaWorld Orlando - created two decades ago.

During a guided tour of Ringling's elephant compound, National Geographic documents its use of bullhooks and its breeding program.

For over a century, elephants have been featured as headlining attractions for circuses. Unfortunately, the confines of circus life don't foster healthy lifestyles for these animals who, in the wild, can walk up to 50 miles a day and live in large, complex social groups.

Circuses are not only unsuitable for these smart and massive creatures, but they have also proven to be cruel and dangerous.

Read and watch National Geographic's full report here.