Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus elephants perform during Barnum's FUNundrum in New York on March 26, 2010.
CNN  — 

Wild animals won’t be performing at circuses in New Jersey anymore.

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday making it illegal to use wild and exotic animals in traveling acts. “Nosey’s Law” is named after a 36-year-old African elephant with arthritis that suffered abuse while traveling the country with a circus, the governor’s office said in a press release.

“New Jersey is the first state to protect wild animals from the abuses inherent in traveling shows,” said Brian R. Hackett, the New Jersey State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, in a statement. “For too long, wild animals used in circuses have endured cruel training, constant confinement, and deprivation of all that is natural to them. We are grateful that Governor Murphy is signing Nosey’s Law to close the curtain on this type of cruelty in our state.”

Murphy said he was proud New Jersey won’t allow “animals to be exploited and cruelly treated within our state.”

“These animals belong in their natural habitats or in wildlife sanctuaries, not in performances where their safety and the safety of others is at risk,” Murphy said in a statement.

Illinois and New York have laws banning the use of elephants in traveling or entertainment acts.

CNN’s Sheena Jones contributed to this report.