Carol the elephant to return to Tupelo

Carol the elephant, seen in this publicity photo, was shot last April by an unknown assailant in Tupelo. (Courtesy photo)

Carol the elephant, seen in this publicity photo, was shot last April by an unknown assailant in Tupelo. (Courtesy photo)

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Carol, the Asian elephant, will return to Tupelo in April to perform after a gunshot wound cut her last performance short.

Carol will return as a part of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus’ Super Circus Heroes.

The 39-year-old elephant was shot with a small-caliber handgun in the early morning hours of April 9, while in her habitat behind the BancorpSouth Arena.

The Tupelo Police Department is still investigating any leads they receive, but Lt. Jerry Davis said no lead has panned out. More than $20,000 in reward money is available.

“We’re excited,” said Melinda Hartline, spokeswoman for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. “The Tupelo community was great. We are eager and ready and can’t wait to come back.”

Hartline said Carol has been back performing, “doing what she loves” and there were no second thoughts about bringing her back to Tupelo.

“She’s part of the family,” she said.

The community gathered around the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey family after the shooting, even presenting them with an elephant-sized get-well card.

“We’re thrilled that Carol is going to be able to return to Tupelo and perform this year,” said Todd Hunt, director of the BancorpSouth Arena. “We were shocked and saddened when she was injured before last year’s performance.

The new show will run from April 3-6.

jb.clark@journalinc.com