The 29th World Elephant Polo Championship is starting today in Meghauli, Chitwan. Eight teams from Iceland, UK, Scotland, UAE, Switzerland, Afghanistan and Nepal are participating in the competition. The championship has been organized by the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) and hosted by Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge since 1982.
Apart from some few differences, the rules of elephant polo is basically similar to that of horse polo. In elephant polo players are secured in rope harnesses, with a rope across their thighs and rope stirrups and the elephants are driven by their trainers, called “mahouts“. The player lets the mahout know where & how fast to go and when to stop. The mahout in turn communicates with the elephant with verbal commands and by applying pressure to the back of the elephant’s ears with their feet.
According to a study conducted by a group of ornithologists from Chitwan and Kosi Wildlife Reserve, migratory birds flocking to Chitwan National Park in winter have increased considerably. There are 564 species of birds found in the national park out of which 20 are on the endangered list. The Bristle Grass Bird which is on the verge of extinction was found on the grassland at Chitwan National Park in significant numbers. This species of bird migrates to Chitwan National Park from India during winter and generally stays up to May.