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

Posted by on April 26, 2016 | Permalink

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].