Elephant shot in Mississippi returns to Missouri

Friday, April 12, 2013 | 10:09 a.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD — An elephant that was intentionally shot while working at a circus in Mississippi is expected to make a full recovery as she heals at her owner's property north of Springfield.

The 39-year-old Asian elephant, named Carol, was shot Thursday in Tupelo, Miss. She was part of a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus show.

The animal's owner, Brett Carden, said the elephant was not seriously injured when she was shot in the neck at the BancorpSouth Arena.

Missouri State University professor and veterinarian Dennis Schmitt, who went to Mississippi to care for the animal, said the bullet did not hit any major organs or blood vessels and Carol should be fully recovered in three to four weeks. She won't rejoin the circus for six to eight weeks, The Springfield News-Leader reported.

Tupelo police Capt. Rusty Haynes said the department and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shooting. They are looking for a silver or white Ford Explorer with tinted windows seen in the area at the time of the shooting.

"I don't think it was random," Haynes said. "(The suspect) deliberately intended to shoot the elephant."

A reward for information relating to the shooting has reached $26,250. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ringling Bros. and other organizations have contributed to the reward fund.

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