Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter

MIAMI (CBSMiami) –  A Ringling Bros. representative is speaking for the first time since the company’s decision to phase them out from performances.

The circus is in town but before Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey take the stage at the American Airlines Arena, performers paid a special visit to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.

“We’re super thrilled because a lot of our patients are obviously not able to attend the show at the American Airlines Arena. We’re excited to bring smiles and magic and kind of bring the show to them,” said Yesenia Rodriguez with the Children’s Miracle Network.

This is the last time the circus will feature elephants in South Florida.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey is ending its elephant acts a year and a half early and will retire the animals in May.

“The elephants will no longer be performing in the circus but they’ll be at our conservation center in Orlando,” said Adriana Infante with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

The move comes amid increasing scrutiny on circus elephant acts with local governments passing “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances in response to concerns over animal cruelty.

The company said preparations for the new retirees at its 200-acre “Center For Elephant Conservation” were completed much sooner than anticipated.

Ringling Bros. says the elephants will hopefully help cancer patients.

“These same very elephants who are now retiring and will be at the center for elephant conservation are being used to research why elephants don’t get cancer and to hopefully find a cure,” said Infante.