SIAM REAP– A 40-to-45-year-old female elephant named Sambo, trained to carry tourists at the famous Angkor Wat, collapsed and died on Friday morning near Bakheng Mountain in the archaeological park.
Sambo had worked for the Angkor Elephant Company since 2001, according to manager Oan Kiri, who said the company was saddened by the loss, the Phenom Pehn Post reported.
According to Oan Kiri, Sambo died after taking two trips from Bayon Temple to Bakheng, having walked about 40 minutes, collapsing shortly after bringing a pair of tourists to Bayon.
A local veterinarian concluded that she died of heart attack due to high temperatures and lack of wind,Angkor Wat recorded a high of 40 degrees Celsius on Friday.
Photo’s of Sambo lying dead on the ground has enraged netcitizens, provoking a petition on the website change.org to End of elephant riding in Angkor Wat, which has already garnered more than 10,000 signatures.
Change.or has called on APSARA (Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap) ban elephant riding at Angkor.
APSARA is the Cambodian management authority responsible for protecting the archaeological park of Angkor and is in charge of the research, protection, development and conservation of the park.
Jack Highwood of the Elephant Valley Project, said in an email that the Angkor elephant companyâ€™s 13 remaining elephants represent the largest concentration of captive elephants in the Cambodia and that working conditions should be regulated.
Recently, thanks to World Animal Protection, 114 global companies have agreed to no longer offer visits to venues with elephant rides and shows. This is a clear sign that times are changing and the leaders of tourism industries understand and agree that this practice must end.
Please sign, share, and let your voice be heard in calling for an end to elephant rides at Angkor.