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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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