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Elephant in Ringling Circus injured 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 Asian elephant was resting in an enclosure outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo when it was hit in the shoulder area 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.

Circus staff attended to the elephant until a local veterinarian arrived, Kirkpatrick said. He said it is expected to make a full recovery.

Circus spokeswoman Melinda Hartline said no other animals or people were injured in the shooting.

Tupelo Police Department detectives have been looking for leads in the case but so far 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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