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Fury over cruelty as elderly elephant collapses

December 11, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Outrage over elephant riding has erupted again, with a petition to end the practice gaining hundreds of thousands of signatures following the death of an elderly elephant trained to carry tourists.

Sambo the elephant, aged between 40 and 45, died after walking for 40 minutes between two temples in the ancient archaeological complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia in 40C heat

The elephant was carrying just two tourists, one at a time, but the heat proved too much. A vet established that Sambo “died of a heart attack due to high temperatures and lack of wind”, according to the Phnom Penh Post.

Public pressure to halt elephant rides is growing.

Earlier this year, the issue surfaced after an elephant handler struck his animal on the head several times – before the animal went berserk, attacked a tourist and trampled a tour guide who tried to intervene.

A Chinese consulate in northern Thailand has warned tourists not to ride elephants and to avoid contact with wild animals after the Chinese tour guide was trampled to death, Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported.

Sambo the elephant collapses in Cambodia

The tragic incident in January happened at the Sam Liam Thong Kham elephant camp near Pattaya.

Elephant riding remains highly controversial, with animal welfare groups working to ban it. Intrepid Travel officially put a stop to elephant riding on its trips five years ago and other operators have done likewise. TripAdvisor has banned ticket sales for any tours involving elephant riding and Thomas Cook stopped promoting elephant rides and shows after over hundreds of thousands people signed a petition.

About 120 global travel tour operators have pledged to stop offering elephant rides since wildlife charity World Animal Protection (WAP) placed riding elephants at the top of its list of cruel tourist activities involving animals.

Written by Peter Needham

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