TODAY   |  April 03, 2014

Elephant returns to circus after being shot

Carol the elephant returns to the ring Thursday night, one year after an assailant shot her in the shoulder in Tupelo, Mississippi. Detectives say they are still hoping for one tip that may lead to an arrest. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> 7:43. this a crime that baffled a lot of people. someone tried to kill a circus elephant, carol, in tupelo, mississippi. good morning.

>> reporter: good morning. they say an elephant never forgets. unfortunately because carol here can't communicate other than to say "i'm hungry," the detectives say about the only way they think they're going to be able to break this case now is with a tip.

>> announcer: may i present the world famous --

>> reporter: carol is back performing with the other circus elephants. hard to believe as she performed her trademark headstand to the delight of children that this mus ccular 7,500 pound asian elephant was targeted by someone with a single bullet. it's still a mystery, who tried to kill carol? where was she hit?

>> you can see the scar now. it's firm in the area. when we x-rayed it, there were numerous bullet fragments in there. we thought they would come out but they didn't.

>> reporter: so police never got ballistics?

>> no.

>> reporter: the only real leads they have is what was caught on this security camera . witnesses remember hearing a single shot .

>> the case is still being investigated. we just do not have any new information at this time.

>> if she wants it, she'll put her head up.

>> reporter: oh, wow. this is really slimy. but you're happy, right? survivor, huh?

>> yeah.

>> reporter: she's a survivor. tough and always hungry. carol spent seven weeks in missouri recuperating. and while they say an elephant never forgets, carol's trainer believes in her memory returns, it will be of how everyone came to her rescue.

>> reporter: is she a little scared? is she a little tentative?

>> no, she doesn't understand that somebody maliciously tried to hurt her. she just had a boo-boo and we fixed it right away.

>> reporter: now since this happened, the ringling brothers and barnum and bailey circus officials say they've had to put protective measurements in place. the police are offering a reward and hope somebody will come forward with information as they're excited to