Elephants compete in beauty contest

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For the first time ever at the International Elephant Festival at Sauraha, Chitwan in Nepal, organisers have introduced a new event to its annual line-up, an Elephant Beauty Pageant.

In its seventh year, the event attracts scores of spectators, both local residents and tourists, who gather at the Chitwan National Park to see these giant animals in action.

The yearly event first began with elephant races, an elephant football event was added some years later, and finally this year's addition, a beauty contest.

Six elephants vied for the beauty title and were chosen by a panel of judges based on several factors.

"We have nine categories to judge the elephants in the beauty pageant, its movement, painted decorations by their mahouts, their physique, their health, and their sensing capabilities," said Shankar Sainju, president of the Regional Hotel Association.

The contestants were decorated with hand drawn motifs by their mahouts (elephant caretakers). They performed various activities and were judged on how well they took commands from their keepers.

The winner of the beauty pageant was 28 year-old Chanchalkali, who was clad in a pink cape and had her nails neatly trimmed and painted in different coloured floral designs.