Elephant Polo

by Hidden Trails 11/11/2010

If you thought regular polo was exciting, think again!

The World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA) will hold the 29th World Elephant Polo Championship in Chitwan National Park, Nepal from November 28th to December 4th, 2010. The equipment is similar to regular polo, with a standard polo ball and a six to nine foot cane with a polo mallet on the end. Two people ride each elephant, which is guided by a mahout (a person who ‘drives’ the same elephant from an early age).

Although elephant polo was first played in India at the start of the 19th century the modern game originated in Nepal, where the World Championships are held each year. The WEPA enforces strict rules regarding both elephant welfare and game play. While the annual event in Nepal is an official tournament of the WEPA, other organizations also hold elephant polo matches. One such organization is the Ceylon Elephant Polo Association, who has not held a match since February 2007 when an elephant went on a rampage during a game and injured two players and destroyed the minibus of the Spanish team. And some people worry about horses!

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