Adorable Photos: Orphaned Elephant and Labrador Play Catch Together

An unusual friendship has blossomed between Bubbles, an orphaned elephant, and Bella, a Labrador, as they enjoy playing catch together.

In a series of heartwarming pictures, Bubbles uses her trunk to pick up a ball, teasing Bella, who is only as tall as the elephant’s knee.

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Bubbles, a 32-year-old African elephant, play in the river with his best friend Bella, a 3-year-old labrador, in Myrtle Beach Safari, South Carolina. Source: Barry Bland

Bubbles dive into a pool, but that doesn’t stop Bella from trying to retrieve the ball by climbing onto her giant friend’s back.

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The playful duo continues their game, with Bella leaping off Bubbles to catch the ball and swimming away, with Bubbles following closely behind.

Bhagavan Antle, director of the California wildlife park where the two friends reside, says, “They just love to romp around together.” The park is part of The Rare Species Fund, a wildlife conservation effort in Southern California.

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Bella and Bubbles enjoy a game of catch in the water reserve at Myrtle Beach Safari, which is home to other species of endangered animals. Source: Barry Bland

Bubbles were discovered as a baby by Antle, weighing 340 lbs and standing 42 inches tall. She was described as “small and helpless for an elephant” on her Facebook page after her parents were killed for their tusks during a 20-year slaughter that concluded with the 1989 ban on ivory imports.

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Bubbles was among the few orphaned elephants flown to the US, where a limited number of facilities were prepared to care for them. Many others were killed or abandoned due to inadequate housing and care in Africa.

Antle recalls falling in love with Bubbles at first sight and carefully considering the long-term commitment of adopting an elephant, which can live for 60 to 100 years.

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Launchpad: Bella springs off Bubbles’ trunk to dive into the water to catch the ball at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species in South Carolina. Source: Barry Bland
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Bubbles, a rescued orphan elephant, picks up a ball with her trunk to tease Bella the labrador, who dives off her back into the water as part of their favorite game. Source: Barry Bland
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Now 30 years old, over 9 feet tall, and weighing around four tons, Bubbles has even appeared in Ace Ventura II, Malaika, and a Janet Jackson music video.

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The pair cool down in the waters at Myrtle Beach Safari, where Bubbles was taken as a baby after being flown to the US from Africa. Source: Barry Bland
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Bubbles are now over 9ft and weigh around 4 tons after being taken to the center as a baby weighing just 340 lbs and measuring 42in. Source: Barry Bland
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Source: Barry Bland
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Bubbles teased Bella with the ball before the pair broke from their tiring game. The unlikely friends are among various endangered species at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S) in South Carolina. Source: Barry Bland
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Bubbles were among the few orphaned elephants that were flown to the US from Africa, where a handful of facilities awaited their arrival after their parents had been killed for tusks. Source: Barry Bland

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