Circus elephants living large in Florida

The final 11 Ringling Bros. circus elephants have arrived at a conservation centre in Florida to retire, ending 145 years at the centre of the Greatest Show on Earth.

FLORIDA, USA (Reuters) - They're joined together in retirement, no longer performers for the Ringling Bros circus.

The endangered Asian elephants now have a new home, The Ringling Bros Centre for Elephant Conservation, in Florida.

Elephant handler Ryan Henning says it's bittersweet.

"It's the end of an era. It's sweet in the sense that at the end of the day it's about these magnificent creatures and conservation and ensuring these guys will be around for many generations to come."

Researchers also plan to study their DNA, in hopes of developing human cancer treatments.

A gene called P53 helps reduce elephants' cancer risk by signalling mutating cells to die before they can develop and spread.

So the elephants could one day be back in the spotlight, just not at the circus.