KATHMANDU, Nov 9: The 32nd edition of World Elephant Polo is to be held at Tiger Tops Karnali Lodge in Bardia National Park with the objective to promote wildlife tourism of Nepal.
World Elephant Polo Association and Tiger Tops have been organizing the event since 1982. Although the event was being organized in Chitwan National Park, the event this year has been moved to Bardia.
Elephant Polo is one of the most popular adventure tourism sports and is held in Nepal and Thailand only. “This is an unique tourism product and provides the country a great opportunity to be promoted as we have received widespread media attention internationally,” said Kristjan Bahadur Edwards, the organizer of the event who also owns Tiger Tops.
Edward said that as they have once organized the event in 2009 in Bardia they were hopeful that the popularity of the event was not going to be affected. “However, we will be happy to continue the event in Meghauli,” he added.
Following the expiry of the lease agreement, the government had asked all the resorts inside Chitwan Naitonal Park including Tigers Tops to shut down the operation about four month ago.
Nine teams have confirmed their participation for the event, two of which will be from Nepal. The participating teams are from UK, Switzerland, Afganistan and Mongolia. “ Although there is a huge interest for participation we do not allow more teams considering the conservation part,” added Edwards.
The three times champion of the event EFG Bank is sponsoring this edition of the event. “Undoubtedly the event help in tourism promotion of the country and we are happy to be spending the money for the wildlife conservation,” he said if there is no wilidlife safari there is no wildlife tourism.
We plan to use the fund collected from the event for the medication of Elephant Tuberculosis, Tim Edwards, one of the organizers said. Medication of the TB was very important for their plans to eradicate the disease.
“The response we receive for the event and the willingness to participate from different parts of the world is increasing every year,” said Subarna Chhetri, member of WEPA, Nepal chapter.
He said that the event like Elephant Polo was more than a simple competition as it was unique and has been supporting the wildlife tourism in various ways. “The event is covered by renowned international media where even the government cannot think about advertising,” Chhetri said.