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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will stage the final performances of “The Greatest Show on Earth” in May, ending a 146-year run.

The announcement comes after the show saw a steep drop in ticket sales, after the circus’ owners ended the use of live elephants in performances. The circus was involved in protracted legal battles with animal rights groups over the use of elephants in the show.

“Ringling Bros. ticket sales have been declining, but following the transition of the elephants off the road, we saw an even more dramatic drop,” Kenneth Feld, chairman and CEO of Feld Entertainment which owns the circus, said in a statement issued Saturday night.

Animal rights groups welcomed the news of the circus’ imminent end.

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Image: A performer hangs upside down during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performanceA circus performer hangs upside down during a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performance in Washington, D.C., on March 19, 2015. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP – Getty Images

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