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  100 elephants have big kickabout
Updated 31 January 2004, 14.33

Almost 100 elephants have taken part in a football game in India.

20,000 villagers turned out to support the house trained beasts, who had learnt to kick the ball.

In a match which would have tested even David Beckham's stamina, the game was played on a giant pitch which was over one mile long.

The match was organised as part of an annual carnival aimed to encourage locals to protect the animals, with whom they have been in conflict.

Bitter rivalries

Over 150 of the giant beasts were involved in the 3 day carnival in the Indian state of Assam, home to more than half of India's 10,000 elephant population.

In a long running bitter rivalry between man and beast, angry elephants have trampled to death at least 150 people in the past two years in Assam.

In response, villagers have killed 200 elephants, using poison tipped arrows.

Experts believe the increase in elephant attacks on humans are because of growing elephant numbers and the devastation of the animal's natural habitat.

Around 5000 elephants roam freely in the North Eastern Indian state.

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