KATHMANDU, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Nepal is going to hold an elephant festival in the central tourist town of Sauraha on Dec. 26-30 to raise public awareness on decreasing number of elephants in the country.
The Nepal Tourism Board said on Tuesday that the 11th edition of the annual festival is being organized by the Chitwan Regional Hotel Association in Nepal (RHAN).
"From its earlier editions, the festival has already introduced itself in global tourism arena," the board said in a statement. " This festival reminds us of our responsibilities towards wildlife. "
The five-day festival includes various events, such as elephant race, calves football, elephant beauty contest, ox-cart and horse- cart races, among others. It also features cultural activities, jungle safaris and canoeing race.
The town of Sauraha boasts of 100 hotels, which have promised to offer a discount of 30 percent on bed and 20 percent on food, RHAN President Gyanendra Kumar Bista told Xinhua.
"This edition of festival will see some 100 elephants in action, " he said. "Besides awareness about wildlife, we also aim to encourage tourists to stay in Nepal during Christmas and New Year. "
According to Bista, 20 elephants will take part in race, eight elephant calves will play football and five shall compete in a beauty pageant.
Sauraha, a tourist hub of Nepal, is located some 160 km south of the capital Kathmandu. The town is the gateway to Chitwan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Against the backdrop of majestic Himalayas, the national park is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including endangered rhinoceros and tiger.
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