It's no surprise that a dog loves playing catch — but an elephant? Our charming pictures show Bubbles, a rescued orphan elephant, picking up a ball with her trunk to tease Bella the labrador, who can just about reach her pal’s knee. She dives into a pool of water, but that doesn’t deter the pooch, who tries to get her paws on the ball by climbing onto Bubbles’ back.
Bubbles, a 32 year old African elephant, plays in the river with his best friend Bella a 3 year old labrador in Myrtle Beach Safari, South Carolina
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
When it is tossed into the air, Bella leaps off to retrieve it and then swims off, with her playmate in hot pursuit.
‘They just love to romp around together,’ says Bhagavan Antle, director of the wildlife park in California where the two friends live.
Bubbles and her other animal friends are part of a wild life conservation effort called The Rare Species Fund in Southern California.
Antle came across the friendly giant as a baby when she weighed 340lbs and was 42in tall.
The trainer describes her as 'small and helpless for an elephant' on the animal's Facebook page, after her parents were killed for their tusks during a 20 year slaughter which ended with the ban on ivory import in 1989.
Bubbles, a rescued orphan elephant, picks up a ball with her trunk to tease Bella the labrador who dives off her back into water as part of their favourite game
The pair cool down int he waters at Myrtle Beach Safari where Bubbles was taken as a baby after being flown to the US from Africa
Bubbles was among the few orphaned animals that were flown to the US where a handful of facilities awaited their arrival. Most were either killed or discarded due to a lack of housing and care in Africa
Antle describes how meeting Bubbles was 'love at first site', adding the centre had thought carefully about adopting an elephant which can live for 60 to 100 years.
Now 30 years old and over 9ft, Bubbles weighs approximately four tons.
Them impressive animal has even found fame on the big screen, starring in Ace Ventura II, Malaika and a Janet Jackson music video.
Bubbles is now over 9ft and weighs around 4 tons after being taken to the centre as a baby weighing just 340lbs and measuring 42in
Bubbles teases Bella with the ball before the pair take a break from their tiring game. The unlikely friends are among an array of endangered species at The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species (T.I.G.E.R.S) in South Carolina
Bubbles was 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