23RD DECEMBER 2019
AN OPEN LETTER ADDRESSED TO:
Honorable Prime Minister Mr K P Sharma Oli
Director General Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Gopal Prakash Bhattarai
Honourable Minister of Forests and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet
Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai
Nepal Tourism Board
NEPAL ELEPHANT POLO TOURNAMENT
Recent news about the organization of an Elephant polo tournament in Nepal has drawn our attention and concern. The undersigned international Elephant experts representing various fields respectfully ask that you stop this year’s Elephant Polo event and ensure such activities will be discontinued in the future. The reasons for our concerns are as follows:
Indian Rulers (Aristocrats) and Western colonists established Elephant Polo in the early 20th century as a form of entertainment. The game was introduced in Nepal in 1982 as a way to increase tourism. In the game, nine Elephants (4 from one side, 4 from another side, and one referee), are each ridden by a mahout and a player. The mahout forces the Elephant to run after the ball, threatening pain and punishment if the Elephant does not respond accordingly.
Elephant Polo has been permanently discontinued in Thailand and Sri Lanka following exposure of abusive treatment prior to and during the event. The official Elephant Polo games held in Nepal and hosted by Tiger Tops were discontinued in 2017.
In December 2018 an Elephant polo tournament was held in Sauraha, drawing international criticism and exposing the abusive treatment of the Elephants. Despite this, the Elephant owners are now contemplating another Elephant Polo game.Continue reading “ELEPHANTS PLAYING POLO IN NEPAL”