A shot elephant returned last night to the Big Top, one year after a drive-by shooter, who is still at large, shot “Carol” the elephant in the shoulder. The 40-year-old elephant made her re-debut to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Bancorp South Arena in Tupelo, Miss.
According to the Inquisitr on April 3, “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.”
The veterinarian overseeing the circus, Dr. Danielle Graham, stated that Carol, a 7,535 lb. Asian elephant, is fully recovered. “Her health today is 100 percent,” Dr. Graham said.
Tupelo Police Lt. Jerry Davis said the case has not been closed, and is hopeful new leads will surface now that Carol’s story is back in the news.
“The case is still being investigated,” Davis said. “Detectives are still working on it; we just do not have any new information to follow up on at this time.” Davis said there is a $34,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s).
The elephant’s trainer, Cathy Cardon, said changes were made after the shooting. Elephants that were kept in a fenced-in enclosure in parking lots are now housed in more secure areas, where they are inaccessible by the public and surrounded by tractor-trailers.
Speaking of Carol, Cardon said: “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.”
WMC-TV explains how Carl was shot in April of 2013:
“A single bullet entered Carol's right side. A few inches lower or a few inches closer to her head and Carol could have died. After Carol was shot, she was taken to Missouri where she was treated,” the news station reported at the time.
Despite Carol’s return, a Change.org petition has been signed by 17,000 people demanding that the elephant be allowed to retire.
The petition reads in part:
Please sign this to show Ringling Bros that you are against them putting Carol on tour after she was just shot in a drive-by. This is the least they can do when these animals are out there performing their entire lives for the circus.