Curtain falls on final Ringling Bros. circus performance

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The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus concluded 146 years of performances with a grand finale Sunday evening in New York's Nassau Coliseum on Sunday evening.

Feld chose to fold up the tent as a result of high operating costs combined with lower ticket sales, it said in a statement at the time. Many in the audience had tears.

After almost 150 years, the show will not go on for the iconic Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is performing its final act on Sunday.

Capping a legacy that stretches back to the legendary 19th century showman P.T. Barnum, the circus bid adieu with a series of shows over the weekend at the Nassau Coliseum.

If there was angst over the remaining Ringling animal performers, it was not evident at the midday performance. He also encouraged the audience to "Support good, well-run circuses" before giving Masai, the lion, one last kiss on the Ringling stage.

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For those who couldn't make it, the final circus show on Sunday night was streamed live on Facebook Live and on the circus' website. After phasing out the elephants, the owner said, the decline in attendance was "greater than could have been anticipated".

The Center for Elephant Conservation will continue its work, but the lions, tigers, kangaroos, llamas and other exotic animals featured in the shows will be placed in suitable homes, the AP reported. Over the years, he had taken his children to the Ringling circus as many as 25 times.

The Humane Society of the United States, a longtime critic of the show's animal welfare practices, acknowledged that Ringling Bros. has made changes over the past century and a half, but claims the changes didn't happen quickly enough.

The company said it saw a rapid drop in ticket sales after it ended its use of live elephants in performances last May - following scrutiny from animal rights groups and local governments passing "anti-elephant" ordinances in response to those concerns.

Until Sunday, the company's train was the primary residence for most of the performers, who hail from 13 different countries.