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Elephant Dies Due to Heatstroke After Carrying Tourist; Cambodia Vows to Reduce Elephant Work Hours

Apr 29, 2016 05:03 AM EDT
Asian Elephants Arrive At Taronga Zoo
Animal rights activist have long been fighting to stop the abuse of elephants by tour operators
(Photo : Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

An elephant used for tours in Cambodia died the other day due to exhaustion and heatstroke. Because of this, tour operators vow to lessen working hours of elephants.

In a report by Daily Mail, they said that the 45-year old elephant collapsed after being forced to carry tourists in 45C temperature. The animal died of apparent heatstroke.

Reports say that the poor animal was a female elephant named Sambo. The animal who died due to heatstroke was used by tour operators to carry tourists around the temples including the famous Angkor Wat just outside Siam Reap.

Because of the photos of the dead elephant which circulated in social media, the authorities were forced to amend the elephant ride tour industry.

Photo of the dead elephant who collapsed after carrying tourists around Angkor Wat in Cambodia
(Photo : Yam Senok/Facebook) Photo of the dead elephant who collapsed after carrying tourists around Angkor Wat in Cambodia

After the death of the elephant, a petition to halt the use of elephants for tour went viral with thousands of people expressing the support for the campaign.

Campaign: Shortly after the death of the 45-year-old elephant went public, thousands signed a petition to stop elephant rides in the area

In the same report, a veterinarian concluded that "Sambo had died of a heart attack 'due to high temperatures, heat exhaustion and lack of wind"

Angkor Elephant Company manager Oan Kiri said in an interview with AFP that "Veterinarians concluded that the elephant's death was caused by the hot temperatures which caused stress, shock, high blood pressure and a heart attack."

In the AFP report published by Telegraph, Kiri said the elephant had been working for 45 minutes walking 2.1 kilometers while carrying tourists before collapsing on its way to their enclosure.

 Kiri added that the company regrets the incident and that they vowed to protect the remaining 13 elephants by giving them lesser working hours.

The extreme hot weather was also blamed for the death of Sambo, but animal rights activist said that the abuse of elephants have long been complained in Asian nations including Cambodia and Thailand.

Operators argue that elephants help in boosting the tourism which provides income for their families.

It is very important for the handlers and tour operators to take into consideration the health of the animals used for this kind of purpose, especially during the hot season.

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