By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Carol the elephant has returned to the circus circuit after recovering from a gunshot wound received in Tupelo.
Carol healed from the April 9 shooting by spending time recovering at the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus farm in Springfield, Mo.
The 39-year-old Asian elephant was hit in the shoulder with a bullet from a small-caliber shotgun early that morning in an apparent drive-by shooting at the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, police say.
While Carol has not begun performing again, she has been reunited with her circus family and is attending the show in Baton Rouge this week.
“She’s just kind of hanging out, resting and eating and being with her friends and family,” said Melinda Hartline, spokeswoman for the circus. “Everyone is glad to have her back and she looks good.”
Hartline said Carol would begin performing again when the trainers feel she is ready. Until then, she will watch the performances from the sidelines and continue the recovery process.
Tupelo Police Lt. Jerry Davis said the detectives division has followed up on every lead provided about the shooting, but has no new information.
“They come in sporadically but nothing has panned out yet,” Davis said.
Capt. Allan Gilbert of Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi and the Tupelo Police Department said the reward money for anyone with information about the shooting still is available.
The reward, totaling $34,000, includes $10,000 from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, $5,000 from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, $5,000 from PETA, $1,000 from Crime Stoppers of Northeast Mississippi and $250 from former 1st District Congressman Travis Childers.
Tips can be made anonymously at (800) 773-8477.