(SPOT.ph) In 2016, an elderly elephant carrying tourists around Angkor Wat collapsed and died. It was still a couple of months away from summer season in Cambodia, but temperature was already at 40 degrees in the tourist destination. Not to mention the fact that Sambo, which was the name of the elephant aged between 40 and 45, has been walking in the heat for 40 minutes. Fast forward to 2019, Angkor Archaeological Park is finally banning elephant rides within the complex.
It was announced in June 2019 that the measure will be fully implemented in early 2020, and Apsara—the management authority at the park—is already starting to transport the huge mammals. It was reported by Khmer Times that two of the 14 elephants have been relocated to the Bos Thom community forest in Sout Nikom district as of November 15. There, they will be under the care of the Elephant Management Association. While the remaining dozen mammals will remain within the premises until the following year, they will no longer be used for rides.
The practice of ferrying tourists around Angkor Wat started in 2001. Telegraph's travel writer Lee Cobaj explained in a 2016 article that this often meant having to separate a baby elephant from their mothers before being "starved, dehydrated, and beated repeatly" in order to force them to carry out the routine of carrying tourists day in and day out.