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Ringling Circus elephant hurt in drive-by shooting in Mississippi

By Emily Le Coz

JACKSON, Mississippi (Reuters) - An elephant in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus was injured in a drive-by shooting in Mississippi on Tuesday and police were searching for suspects in the attack, law enforcement and circus officials said.

The 39-year-old Asian elephant named Carol was resting in an enclosure outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo when it was hit in the shoulder with a shot fired from a passing vehicle, said arena spokesman Kevan Kirkpatrick.

The circus is in Tupelo for several shows that are due to start at the arena on Thursday.

The elephant will be taken to Missouri for several weeks of treatment and is expected to make a full recovery, circus spokeswoman Melinda Hartline said.

Hartline said no other animals or people had been injured in the shooting.

Tupelo Police Department detectives have been looking for leads in the case but so far they have little information, Police Captain Rusty Haynes said.

Haynes said the crime would be pursued as a federal offense under the Endangered Species Act because it involved an endangered animal.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins)

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