Shot Elephant Returns To The Circus, Shooter Still At Large

An elephant called Carol who was shot in April 2013 by an unidentified person, possibly driving a white SUV, is returning to the circus following her recovery, which has taken almost a year. She makes her return to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo, Miss. tonight.

Apart from the trauma caused to poor Carol, the only visible scar from the inexplicable shooting is on her right shoulder where the bullet entered. According to Carol’s vet, Dr. Danielle Graham: “her health today is 100 percent.”

A $33,750 reward which has been on offer for any information leading to the arrest of whoever shot Carol has produced no leads. Tupelo Police Lt. Jerry Davis told NBC News: “The case is still being investigated. Detectives are still working on it; we just do not have any new information to follow up on at this time.”

Last year, when the shooting happened, the elephants from the circus had been kept in the parking lot in fenced-in pens when they weren’t performing. Since the shooting security has been heightened and the circus has parked its semi-trailers in a ring surrounding the elephants and other animals for protection.

Carol’s owner and trainer, Cathy Carden, said she is a little nervous for Carol’s return: “I’m excited to get there and see everybody and show everybody in Tupelo that Carol is great,” she said.

Cathy said that fortunately Carol won’t remember the shooting: “She doesn’t understand that somebody tried to maliciously hurt her; she doesn’t understand that. She just had a little boo-boo; we fixed it right away. They intentionally tried to harm Carol, kill Carol, but they could have killed anyone of us. We were all in R.Vs. We were parked in my R.V. with my family, my two little boys and my husband,” she said.

After nearly a year since the incident Lt. Davis said he’s still hopeful for a tip that will bring Carol’s shooter to justice: “If you’ve heard anybody saying anything about this, you know it might not be anything that big, you might not think it’s that big, but it could be very helpful to us.”

Members of the public who may have any information which could be helpful to police are asked to contact Northeast Mississippi Crimestoppers at 1-800-773-TIPS(8477).