Nepal town hosts elephant race, soccer match

CHITWAN, DEC 29 -  

Elephants have raced, played soccer and shown their beauty at a festival to raise conservation awareness and lure foreign tourists to Nepal.

Teams of four elephants played soccer using a standard-size ball as thousands of locals and foreign tourists cheered on the sidelines. Twenty elephants raced on 300-meter (984-foot) track, and trainers of some animals painted white patterns on the elephant's bodies and painted their nails red.

The three-day event that ended Wednesday was aimed at attracting visitors to the Chitwan conservation forests some 106 miles (170 kilometers) south of the capital, Katmandu.

Nepal is slowly recovering from the 10-year Maoist insurgency that killed more than 13,000 people and chased tourists from the Himalayan nation.

Posted on: 2011-12-29 11:03