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And now for some unashamed cuteness: The football-playing elephant

As a newborn, Elizabeth weighed approximately 130kg Credit: Whipsnade Zoo

Baby Elizabeth knew exactly what to do with her first birthday present - a new football.

And now the half-ton youngster is at her happiest running down the wing controlling the ball with her trunk.

In fact, Elizabeth has so much fun running around playing football that she rarely allows the other herd members – or indeed, her zookeepers – a chance to take the ball off her.

Elizabeth - a football star in the making ? Credit: Whipsnade Zoo

She was born just before Her Majesty’s 90th birthday celebrations last year, and can be seen in the herd’s brand new Centre for Elephant Care, which was opened by HM The Queen in April.

Elizabeth has certainly impressed other members of her nine-strong Asian elephant herd at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire.

We knew Elizabeth would absolutely love her birthday presents – as well as providing a wonderful source of fun and stimulation; it keeps her very active too.

For a little elephant Elizabeth certainly has a trunkful of skills when it comes to dribbling a football; she’s somewhat of a natural with the ball!

When elephants are first born it can take them a little while to work out how to make the most of their trunk, which contains more than 40,000 muscles, but we have all been amazed by how quickly Elizabeth mastered it, and how much control she seems to have.

– Mark Howe, Elephant keeper
Elizabeth the baby elephant showing huge talent with a football. Credit: Whipsnade Zoo.