New Delhi: Queen Elizabeth II visited the ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s brand new Centre for Elephant Care in England on Tuesday prior to its opening to the public.
The Queen, accompanied by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, came face to face some Asian elephants, including the herd's youngest member named after her.
The 10-month-old female calf was born in June and was named Elizabeth in honour of the Queen's 90th birthday last year.
As if thrilled by their visit, Donna, a seven-year-old Asian elephant, greeted the Royal couple even as they fed unpeeled bananas to the pachyderm. Check out the enchanting video below, uploaded on YouTube by ZSL.
The baby elephant, her mom Karishma and nine other Asian elephants will share a new extensive paddock at Whipsnade Zoo, run by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).
Asian elephants are considered endangered due to habitat loss, poaching and conflict with humans.
The new home for the herd has seven linked outside areas, including a large grass paddock and two separate houses. Additional facilities include pools, mud wallows, dust baths and rubbing posts and high feeders.
Professor David Field, Director at the zoo, said the queen was absolutely delighted to learn that the calf, now weighing 460 kg, was named after her.
Zookeepers at Whipsnade described the baby elephant as very playful.
One zookeeper commented: "She even has a football which she takes everywhere and gets stroppy if it is taken away from her."
Assistant curator of elephants at Whipsnade Lee Sambrook said the queen was especially interested to hear about the round-the-clock care the elephants receive.
The queen is a patron of ZSL, which carried out animal conservation work around the world.
The Royal couple spent their day watching the ZSL elephant team carrying out their daily tasks.
(With IANS inputs)