Back Stories » Asia » After Elephant Dies, Petition to End Cambodia's Elephant Rides Reaches 56,000 Signatures

An online petition which aims to put a stop to elephant rides in Siem Reap has garnered more than 56,000 signatures after the sudden death of an elephant at Angkor Wat last week.

Female elephant Sambo collapsed on Friday, April 22 while transporting tourists between Bayon Temple and Bakheng Mountain, reports the Phnom Penh Post. Sambo, who was 40 to 45 years old, had walked for approximately 40 minutes before unexpectedly falling to the ground.

According to Oan Kiri, manager of Angkor Elephant Company, where the elephant was employed, Siem Reap's unusually hot weather may have played a part in the incident, as the area saw a high of 40 degrees Celsius that day.

“After our veterinarian checked...we concluded that she died of heart attack due to high temperatures and lack of wind,” he told the Post.

Since then, a petition on titled “End Elephant Riding at Angkor, Siem Reap” has received international support.

“The recent death of Sambo, a female elephant used for tourist rides, at the Angkor temples should be the final wake-up call for the community and tourism industry to take the steps needed to end this horrific practice,” the petition reads.

[Photo via Asian Correspondent]

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