This footage may embarass Prince William, who was in China to fight against the illegal wildlife trade and protect elephants.
But in the same animal sanctuary he visited, but unseen by him, one area is said to house elephants which are made to perform for visitors' amusement.
There are allegations of mistreatment in the training process, in which the animals are made to spin and play football.
ITV News' Royal Editor Tim Ewart reports:
Prince William has called on China to unite with the United Kingdom in the fight against "ruthless" poaching and trafficking.Read the full story ›
Prince William had a run-in with an elephant named Ran Ran during a visit to Yunnan Province in China this morning.
The Duke of Cambridge had the encounter during a visit to Dai communities, who co-exist in the region with wild elephants.
It comes on the final day of William's tour of China, during which he is also due to visit an elephant rehab sanctuary and reflect on his trip in a speech at a wildlife conference.
Speaking after the walkaround, William said he would discuss the issue of ivory trading - an issue on which he has campaigned previously - in a speech later of the day.
Two radio DJs broke the law when they prank-called a hospital caring for the Duchess of Cambridge, Australia's high court has ruled.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian were put through to a nurse at King Edward VII, who gave information about the Duchess' condition after being told the call was from the Queen and Prince Charles.
Indian-born Jacintha Saldana, 46, committed suicide three days later.
The decision in favour of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) came after a challenge by radio station 2Day FM, which argued that the watchdog did not have the authority to rule that the actions were illegal.
Following the high court ruling, the station could be fined or lose its licence.
Greig and Christian have since apologised for the prank, with Greig attending Saldana's inquest in London.
The Duke of Cambridge today met youngsters at a school in Shanghai where premier league football coaches are working to promote the game among the students.
The Prince was shown around by Paul Hughes, a former coach at Reading, Millwall and Southampton football clubs, who is helping to coach the students under a British Council-run scheme called Premier Skills.
He went on to visit a Shanghai festival showcasing British design, ingenuity and technology before rounding off his day by meeting Paddington Bear at the Chinese premiere of the movie.
Prince William was on the receiving end of a double high-five today as one excited child came dashing across a football pitch to greet him during a Royal tour of a football training camp in China today.
The prince who was visiting a training camp in Shanghai, where schoolchildren learn football skills from coaches trained by England's Premier League, even stopped to kick a ball with the youngster following his enthusiastic greeting.
A new portrait of the Queen that will appear on coins has been revealed.Read the full story ›
Prince William has visited the Forbidden City in Beijing as he continues his tour of China.
The Duke of Cambridge is the first senior member of the royal family to visit the country since the Queen in 1986.
During his visit he will be taken on a tour of the landmark, which has been the imperial palace complex of Chinese emperors for centuries.
Prince William at the Forbidden City in Beijing. It's normally packed with tourists. Not today http://t.co/gdMJhEN9ba
Prince William has arrived in China for a high-profile trip that will see him highlight the illegal wildlife trade, visit some of the nation's most famous sites and meet a rescued elephant.
William's flight landed in Beijing after he had spent the day in Japan hearing the harrowing stories of survivors of the 2011 tsunami.
The Duke's four-day trip to China is the highest profile visit by a member of the Royal Family since the Queen's 1986 state visit and will be viewed as an attempt to improve diplomatic relations with the country.
On Monday the Duke will tour Beijing's Forbidden City before flying to Shanghai where he will launch the three-day Great Festival of Creativity at the city's Long Museum.
William - who has campaigned strongly to end the illegal trade in ivory and other endangered animal products - will travel to Yunnan province on Wednesday where 250 wild Asian elephants still roam free.
He will give a speech at a regional wildlife and conservation conference after seeing rescued elephants and learning how local communities live alongside the large animals.