WORKING elephants were used extensively in the construction of the Angkor temples and may have been used to transport stones from the limestone areas around Kulen Mountain. Nowadays elephants transport tourists up Phnom Bakheng hill and from the south gate of Angkor Thom to the Bayon.
It’s a fun way of seeing Angkor, especially for people who have not been on an elephant before. The elephants at Angkor originated from Cambodia. Some came from the Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri regions, where small wild populations still remain. Many of the Angkor animals are becoming quite old, but they are well looked after at a centre, away from public view. Regular veterinary care is carried out by local and Thai vets. I asked a mahout how many bananas do the elephants do to the kilometre? They must have high fuel consumption, as they have huge appetites.
They eat up to 200 kilograms of bananas, sugar cane and vegetables per day. It is no surprise that even a short elephant ride costs $15. But I wonder how their carbon footprint is calculated?