Ringling Bros. Circus to Close After 146 Years

The Greatest Show on Earth" has clashed with animal rights groups over its treatment of elephants in recent years and will drop its curtain for the final time May 21.
2:25 | 01/16/17

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Transcript for Ringling Bros. Circus to Close After 146 Years
Well now to that big news about the greatest show on Earth, the ringling brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus announcing they are closing their show and folding up the big top for the final time in may and T.J. Holmes has the details behind that big decision. This is an American icon, an institution, been around 146 years and, yes, time might have eventually caught up with them. Things have changed in this country and kids aren't clamoring to go to the circus like they used to. Ringling brothers and Barnum & Bailey. Reporter: The greatest show on Earth drops its curtain after a showstopping 146 years. It's been through world wars, it's been through every kind of chick cycle. Reporter: The famous three ring circus stretches all the way back to the 1800s dazzling generations of circusgoers but in recent years clashes with animal rights groups over the show's treatment of its star elephants. It's good. Reporter: Led to the show removing the animals altogether eventually retiring them last year to a sanctuary. We're moving the elephants from the touring units and we saw a very sharp drop in attendance. Reporter: The fate of humans in the circus has also been under scrutiny. In 2014, eight aerial performers hanging from their hair collapsed to the ground leaving them hospitalized for months. The long-running show tried to stay erielle haven't. In 1999 casting the first African-American ringmaster of a major U.S. Circus and last month making history with its first female ringmaster. This is the last show. Reporter: Circusgoers outside the show in Miami stunned. I'm floored. Reporter: Circus moral mer NIK Wallenda whose family started with them nearly 90 years ago says it's very upsetting. It is, it's heartbreaking for sure. Reporter: A lot of people have that sentiment heartbreaking because we have so many memories as kids of going to the circus but a lot are celebrating it. PETA says be on the lookout. Zoos, aquarium, anyone else with shows, moods have changed about animal. What happens to all the performers and the animals. Animal, they'll find homes but you have 500 performers and other shows this he'll be able to transition some of those performers, but the majority are out of a job as we speak. Last couple of shows will be in may. That's it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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