A circus elephant was injured in a drive-by shooting in Tupelo, Mississippi. The elephant was in town with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
The elephant was reportedly standing outside of the tents in an animal holding area. Authorities report that someone drove down the street and shot a gun in the direction of the animals. Police say that shooting occurred around 2 am.
Authorities report that the investigation is ongoing. They have not named any suspects.
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which is known for their Asian elephants, formed in 1907 with the merger of the circus’ of P.T. Barnum and the Bailey brothers. The two circuses combined as one but continued to tour separately until 1919.
The circus historically traveled from town to town by train. Many Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey shows continue the tradition. As discussed at Ringling.com, the circus has changed hands numerous times but has retained the name Barnum & Bailey name.
In 1995 the Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey Center for Elephant Conservation was created. The center is committed to providing a center of research, conservation, and sanctuary to endangered Asian elephants. The center is reportedly credited for “the most successful Asian elephant breeding program in the Western Hemisphere.”
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has not been without criticism for their treatment of elephants. Organizations such as PETA have accused the circus of cruelty toward the elephants. They have criticized elephant handlers for misusing bull hooks and failing to treat injury or illness. The group has lead protests and maintains a website titled “Ringling Bros. Beats Animals (The Saddest Show on Earth.)” Ringling Bros. And Barnum & Bailey deny claims that they abuse animals used in their show.
Luckily, the circus elephant injured in the drive-by shooting is recovering and did not receive any serious injuries. The elephant is expected to fully recover from the shooting.
[Image via Wikimedia]