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Tiger Tops announces closure of Elephant Polo

Gorkha Post

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NAWALPARASI — Tiger Tops, the organiser of the annual International Elephant Polo Competition, has announced that it would stop hosting the event from this year to support the movement against animal cruelty.

With this, the 35-years long elephant games, which is played every winter on a grass field in Meghauli, Chitwan, will be closed forever. The first games were played on a grass airfield in Meghauli.

Elephant polo, which is played by driving elephants using trainers called mahouts, was first introduced in Nepal in 1982 after James Manclark, a scion of horse polo, started the pachyderm version of the polo with fellow enthusiast Jim Edwards.

In the same year, the World Elephant Polo Association was formed at Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge in the then Royal Chitwan National Park in the southwest of Nepal.

The sticks used in the game are made of bamboo and have a standard polo mallet on the end. This unusual game had been attracting hordes of foreigners in the jungle safari destination of Chitwan.

Tiger Tops has lately been actively supporting the international movement against animal cruelty. Last July, it stopped elephant-back safaris in a bid to end animal suffering.

Tiger Tops, which has been operating Tiger Tops Tharu Lodge in Nawalparasi, believes the termination of events will not affect prospects of wildlife tourism.

Since Tiger Tops was established before 50 years, it has been pioneering environmentally responsible tourism in Nepal. It took the first steps to establish national parks in Nepal n the 1960s, and shoot tigers with cameras instead of rifles.

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Health

Deadly Nipah virus claims 12 in Indian state of Kerala

Gorkha Post

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NEW DELHI — At least 12 people in India have died from a rare deadly and contagious virus known as Nipah virus, according to news reports.

Four deaths were reported on Monday, including of a nurse who treated the three initial infections at the EMS Cooperative Hospital in Perambra. The death of the nurse triggered panic among hospital staff who have had their leaves cancelled to treat the sick, Hindustan Times reported

Two deaths were reported from Kozhikode and four from Malappuram district. At least six persons are in critical condition and another 20 are under observation, state health officials said.

It was recorded in Siliguri district in West Bengal in 2001 and is being suspected in Kerala now, according to media reports

Humans get infected by consuming fruit or date-palm sap contaminated by infected bats but while human-to-human transmission through body fluids is rare.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Nipah virus infection is an emerging disease that was first identified in 1999 during an outbreak among pig farmers in Malaysia and Singapore.

The virus is thought to naturally infect fruit bats (of the genus Pteropus), but it can also infect pigs and other domesticated animals, as well as humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus can also spread from person to person.

CDC says Nipah virus can cause an inflammation of the brain known as encephalitis. Symptoms can include fever and headache, followed by drowsiness, disorientation and confusion. People who are infected with the virus may fall into a coma within 48 hours of showing symptoms, the CDC says.

The virus can be highly lethal, with an average fatality rate of around 75 percent, according to the WHO.

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