This Elephant Collapsed and Died From Exhaustion After Years of Carrying Tourists on Her Back

Posted by 9 months ago | Permalink | Comments (61)

An elephant has collapsed and died of exhaustion after being forced to give tourists rides around Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The elderly 40- to 45-year-old elephant, named Sambo, had been held captive by The Angkor Elephant Company since 2001. During those 15 long years, she had been used to give tourists rides around the historical site.

Similar tourist attractions have been documented keeping elephants shackled in small barren areas whilst they are not “working”, unable to engage in natural behaviour or interact with others of their own kind, even though maintaining social groups is extremely important to these animals. In Thailand, elephants undergo a horrific ordeal in order to “break their spirits” so they will allow people to ride on their backs. They can be immobilised in wooden cages, bound with ropes and beaten with sticks for days on end.

Whilst tourists ride on their backs, elephants often go for long periods without food or water and are rarely, if ever, given breaks from the constant trekking in intense heat. The years of constant abuse proved too much for Sambo, who had a fatal heart attack after a 40-minute trek in 40-degree heat.

Earlier this year, in another tragic illustration of what’s wrong with elephant trekking, a British tourist was trampled to death when an elephant who had endured years of abuse turned on his or her captors. Elephants in the tourism industry have snapped and attacked repeatedly, showing that these beautiful wild animals do not belong in captivity, forced to perform demeaning tasks for nothing more than a photo opportunity.

You can help end animal tourism by never attending an attraction that exploits animals and telling everyone you know to do the same. If you see elephant treks advertised anywhere, please speak out – send a quick e-mail to the company, and let us know, too, by e-mailing [email protected].


  • Linda Reeves commented on April 26, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Disgusting what we do to our beautiful animals.we are here to protect them not destroy them.stop this cruel tourist attraction.and Shane on anyone using it

    • Denise Bounous commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      How can we stop this?!!

    • Pauline commented on May 7, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Yes Linda it is terrible what people are doing to animals it makes me so sad

    • Anna commented on May 12, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      Rest in peace weary one, its your time to rest now with the animal angels! Bless you darling!

    • Patricia commented on May 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      More publicity is required to encourage people not to use animals for transport whilst on holiday. The holiday companies and animal charities could do more to publicise this.

  • kathleen shutt commented on April 26, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    This as to stop it is wicked cruel and evil theses animals are not meant to be treated in this way and why is their government allowing this and the quality of their lives is shocking and having those ropes tied round their poor limbs why is it being allowed.

    • Alison commented on April 30, 2016 at 1:25 am

      It all about money but am with you wrong wrong wrong beautiful animals should be seen in their world the WILD and left to life a long care free life

  • June reid commented on April 26, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    This cruelty must stop

  • Brenda Lynch commented on April 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    This is no life for these beautiful Elephants,they said now be placed in sanctuaries,where they can live out what remains of their lives.

  • Trudi commented on April 26, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    Absolutely heartbreaking …such magnificent creatures. The video of how they are broken is appalling. How can people be so barbaric. Tourists should refuse to ride elephants . Bring an end to this treatment.

  • Linda Powell commented on April 26, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Why must there be a petition? Common sense and a little kindness would’ve saved this beautiful animal. However, no one used either and because they didn’t there must be consequences. I would like a HUGE fine and JAIL. Animal cruelty IS a crime where are the authorities? DISCONTINE the practice of torturing animals.

    • Gunnel Söderback commented on May 8, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Yes, a HUGE fine and JAIL. The only way to stop it. Animal cruelty IS a crime where
      are the authorities?

  • Isabel commented on April 26, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    I’m so disgusted by this video, To The Thai Government, you should be ashamed that you allow this kind of behaviour towards Elephants, it really make your country look backwards and the people undeveloped.

  • Jayne hernon commented on April 26, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    The way human treat animals, is a total disgrace. I’m ashamed to be called human, animals would never treat each other the way we do. Hang your heads in shame.

  • Sonia harrowven commented on April 26, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    This is so sad people should not use animals as part of there holiday it is animal abuse and you should stay away

  • Jayne crombie commented on April 26, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    Stop this cruelty

  • Sarah jackson commented on April 26, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    Come on just leave the poor animals alone

  • Julie commented on April 26, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Disgusting… Humans again I get it that people need to make a living but just like humans they need rest play time away… Education
    I never ride the horse n traps on holidays these horses too look wrecked tired and hungry

  • linda miller commented on April 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    when will people stop using animals for shows and riding on, until they do more elephants will be abused

  • Sue Bayliss commented on April 26, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    We are supposed to be the intelligent race..nothing intelligent about animal cruelty or abuse! Shame on those who pay to promote this cruelty

  • Kerry Bartell commented on April 26, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Savages….no animal should be treated like this!!!

  • moira brabender commented on April 26, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    This is disgusting footage of young elephants being stabbed with bullhooks and being pulled around. Adults will suffer the same fate. I would like to stick bullhooks into these so called humans to let them see what it feels like. These poor elephants are maltreated to the point of vicious cruelty and have to endure wretched conditions. As for tourists wanting to ride on elephants backs, they are amking this trade continue and making the poor animals suffer all the more. Can they not see that. are they so ignorant that they don’t look around them and see how the elephants react with these men? Is it not more appealing to walk beside an elephant and see it at eye level. Talking to it and stroking it’s ears would be a more pleasurable experience for those concerned and the elephant could be stopped for rests too. it’s up to tourists to either stop taking elephant rides and therefore stop this horrible existance for the beasts. At least this poor 40-45 year old elephant now has release from this hell n but others are just beginning theirs. STOP it NOW.

    • jill commented on April 27, 2016 at 11:58 am


  • Dana kassel commented on April 26, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Please stop this abuse. I will never ride the elephants and will tell everyone to do the same.

  • marie dion commented on April 27, 2016 at 1:17 am

    Tourist should not patronize elephant rides, that message has been coming in loud and clear for some time. Just don’t do it. The animal rescue groups should continue to save as many of these poor creatures as possible.

  • Margaret Howard commented on April 27, 2016 at 7:16 am

    These people are cruel heartless barbarians. They know what they are doing to the poor defenceless animal. They ought to be given he same treatment they are dishing out.. Most tourists don’t realise what is gone to these animals.

  • amit commented on April 27, 2016 at 10:01 am

    stop animal riding …

  • anne d commented on April 27, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    new day, different story. the first story i read said that she collapsed while tourists were on her back. how do you all know it was from exhaustion from years of tourist rides? also, even if ‘their spirit is broke’, why do they need to be chained, contained or have guides used on them? an animal that large knows how big it is and is totally capable of rampaging and getting free from it’s ‘abusers’ if that were the case. animals suffer from heart attacks, strokes, aneurysms, etc. so why does it have to be from giving tourists rides? if she were out in the wild and died at this age, no one would bat an eye, but just because she was in captivity, well…that means that is what caused the death. love how you are all arm chair vets and elephant experts because of a biased article

    • Ruby commented on April 27, 2016 at 4:31 pm

      A veterinarian on the scene attributed Sambo’s death to a heart attack, caused by heat exhaustion whilst on a 40 minute trek with tourists at scorching temperatures:

    • Rhonda commented on May 6, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      STFU Anne D! Read the article again. No arm chair vets here, the vet on the scene determined what caused Sambo’s death. Even if that had not been the case, nobody has a right to treat them this way. They are not ours to ride, eat, torture, or kill.
      #choosecompassion #choosevegan

    • Barbara commented on May 6, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Anne d Your a disgrace and dont belong on this page get off. People like you make me sick to the stomach.

    • Tracey Gordon commented on June 23, 2016 at 4:13 am

      Didn’t you even see the damn video! This poor elephant is dead and now they’re going to do the same thing to more!! Have you no compassion woman or are you here to just troll, what the hell is wrong with you!!!

  • christine gray commented on April 27, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    Horrific cruelty-must be stopped

  • Don commented on April 29, 2016 at 12:42 am

    These nonsense comments from animal rights groups make no sense at all! Elephants have been riding people since time is known. Please say something that makes sense please.

    • Tracey Gordon commented on June 23, 2016 at 4:18 am

      Maybe Don, but perhaps it’s only now become apparent what goes on before these poor creatures take people on their backs. Although, I’m sure there are others that train them with more love and tenderness, rather than these barbarians! This is just too awful to watch.

  • Lynne Peters commented on April 29, 2016 at 12:02 pm

    This is truly heartbreaking. I am outraged at the continuing cruelty to these wonderful intelligent animals. I urge everyone to stop encouraging ANY form of animal captivity for the pleasure of sightseers. Let’s leave animals in the wild where they should be.

  • Erica commented on April 30, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    Look at the morons looking at the dead elephant as if they had no clue that heat and exhaustion could possibly bother the poor elephant. Absolutely ridiculous and ignorant! This cruelty needs to stop and these elephants deserve better treatment and humane care!

  • Nannette Stone commented on May 1, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    When is something going to be done to get this banned. Travel companies need to stop selling this & people need to wake up to the truth of the abuse & cruelty these poor souls suffer-are people that damn ignorant

  • peter tubbs commented on May 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

    PLEASE sign this petition to stop this from happening again. THANK YOU.

  • AMANDA STONEBANK commented on May 1, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    I’ll never understand how humans can be so thoughtless, lacking in compassion & cruel. Animals are not “rides”, or “attractions”.. they should ALL be living free in their natural habitat.

  • Sandra Amici commented on May 2, 2016 at 4:50 am

    It’s not fair that evil people who exploit innocent animals get away with it when other people would love to have the opportunity to care for these beautiful and amazing creatures.

  • F. Jackie Loose commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    Stop this barbaric actions against animals!!!!!! Right now!

  • lisa hogan commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Humans are responsible for this and people who ride them on holiday are responsible for this this cruelty will continue as long as people are prepared to ride them.

  • Lorraine Stanley commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    So sad to read about sambo why do people insist on addnh to these animals misery by giving money to abuse them all about money what ever the consequences

  • joan commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    To whom this concerns you know if you are one of the many who took a so called tourist ride on this dear creature. YOU ARE ONE OF MANY RESPONSIBLE WITH THE CRUEL ONES WHO DAILY MADE THEN DO THIS YOU are responsible for it’s long hard suffering life & tragic cruel death. May KARMA be with you.

  • Jackie commented on May 6, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Absolutely despicable. I have no idea how these people – and I use that term in the loosest of terms when it comes to these revolting specimens can bear to live with themselves. Frankly I’d let the elephants loose to trample on them all. I am horrified and appalled and even that does cut how I actually feel.

  • Beatrice Aird Aird O'Hanlon commented on May 6, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    It is truly shocking how these magnificent creatures are treated so badly and inhumanely by poor ignorant people, who only think of money that they can make out of these noble beasts.
    I wish all forms of tourist rides and circuses were banned globally and these beautiful animals were left to roam the few spaces in the wilderness that are left for them.

  • Jo Otero commented on May 6, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    No animal should be subjected to this abuse. Why should I want to ride on an elephant when I can ride in a car?
    If I don’t want to work more than 8 hours a day why should I expect an animal to do so? Would You or Me work throughout the day without a teabreak. no? Then why should they?

  • Lindsay commented on May 6, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Poor creature to die of exhaustion after carrying fat, stupid tourists around, when he/she should have been living in a social group and roaming free. I despair of our species!!

  • Jennifer Lane commented on May 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    What complete b+++++ds these people are. How dare they mistreat and abuse these lovely creatures. I should think that Sambo’s death came as a blessed release from a desperately unhappy life. All those tourists who paid for rides should hang their heads in shame.

  • Dave and Rita Cross commented on May 6, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    This abuse of elephants is cruel and unforgivable! They are forced to die due to man’s lack of compassion and respect! What a tragedy!!

  • Linda Booker commented on May 7, 2016 at 6:44 am

    Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking.

  • Catherine Gilder commented on May 7, 2016 at 9:46 am

    An absolute disgrace! Shame on Thailand for allowing this but then their Animal Rights record is pretty non-existent.

  • Stephanie and Jim Lodge commented on May 7, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I absolutely agree with all said here. This is NOT the way to treat a species many millions of years old and obviously super-intelligent compared with the ones who treat them in this way.

    We absolutely object and are sickened by what ‘humanity’ does to each other and beautiful creatures as these are. We have more to learn from them than they have from us!!!

  • Jules commented on May 8, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    To know that humans are subjecting elephants to such barbaric cruelty is truly heart breaking. Elephants are gentle, intelligent, beautiful beings and to tortue and abuse them is beneath contempt. Through my tears of despair, I hope that this unbearable suffering is stopped and that others do not have to continue to be treated like this. My heart goes out to Sambo – may you rest in peace.

  • JUNE EDWARDS commented on May 8, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    It never ceases to amaze me the Cruelty the human??? will inflict on Animals to earn them money, why don’t these lazy layabouts try going to work and earn their own money, instead of exploiting innocent Animals to earn it for them, An animals is a live being that require the same as the human, food water, and rest, and the freedom to be able to roam free at will not tethered and hackled in chains against their will, they are free beings they do not and are nit the property of the Human.

  • BARBARA BRITTON commented on May 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    Truly, heart breaking. How does anyone justify this? Oh, wait, $$$$$, low- minded entertainment and of course all elephants could get together while chained, roped, beaten, caged, bound, stuck with skin piercing devices, distressed, having their young taken away, and form a committee to attempt to educate the intelligent human life, that elephants do not want to be treated in this manner and reclaim their freedom…..

  • Cathy Ford commented on May 9, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    This is absolutely unfathomable to me, that people can do these things to animals .

  • laura white commented on May 10, 2016 at 3:04 am

    Monsters are real, there Evil, and disgusting, These poor Animals should never ever be subject to any kind of abuse or killed by anyone , its Horrible whats done to them, it breaks my heart , the evil doers , have no heart and no kind of caring feelings at all, Monsters Among us are real !

  • marion price commented on May 12, 2016 at 11:55 pm

    I despair of mankind….please leave these animals ALONE!

  • Angela Thomas commented on June 25, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    The vile, barbaric treatment of the Elephants in Thailand and Cambodia can only be stopped when tourists stop using them. People must be made aware of the suffering that takes place in order for them to have a ‘pleasure ‘ ride.
    Perhaps a poster campaign at airports or on the buses & trains?

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