Part 1: A News Item: What Happened to Carol the Elephant?
As if serving as a press release for the 2013 publication of the book Entertaining Elephants by Susan Nance a news item, in that year, appeared in papers across the country.
It concerned an almost unheard of event involving an Asian elephant named Carol. The 39-year-old pachyderm, belonging to the famed Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, had suffered a bullet wound to her neck in an early morning drive-by shooting. Their encampment, in Tupelo, Mississippi for a series of performances, was directly outside the arena, making this a much more brazen act.
Although Carol was expected to make a full recovery, this act of cruelty puts the spotlight back on menageries and the role circuses and other wild animal exhibitors will have in the years ahead. Who, in the circus, was protecting Carol anyway?
In this case with Carol, PETA immediately came forward to support the elephant by offering $5000.00 toward an even larger reward seeking the conspirator(s). And as elephants are an endangered species, the shooter(s), would also face federal charges. Historically, of course, these animals had no voice such as PETA.
Today, in the twenty-first century, a traveling circus more likely conjures up visions of pleading protesters standing among clueless spectators waiting to cross that line to enter the grand front gate. Such a far cry from the more traditional, happy-go-lucky, big top memories of “popcorn and clowns,” don’t you think?
But this is not the true ending to Nance’s story. With this her story has, in reality, almost come full circle.
See Part 2: Entertaining Elephants: The Review
For video and more of Carol the elephant’s story see: Reward Offered in Drive-By Shooting of Circus Elephant
Note: The photos posted here are Ringling elephants but do not depict Carol the elephant.