Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Angkor Wat ‘tourist elephant’ firm pledges to trim hours

Angkor Wat ‘tourist elephant’ firm pledges to trim hours

Sambo, an elephant used to carry tourists at Angkor Wat, lies on the ground after dying of a suspected heart attack last week. Photo supplied
Sambo, an elephant used to carry tourists at Angkor Wat, lies on the ground after dying of a suspected heart attack last week. Photo supplied

Angkor Wat ‘tourist elephant’ firm pledges to trim hours

The Angkor Elephant Company has pledged to reduce the working hours of its animals following the death last Friday of Sambo, one of 14 elephants it uses to carry tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex, although critics say anything short of their release from captivity is too little.

Elephants previously worked two shifts a day: 7:30am to 10:20am, and 3:30pm to 6pm.

Burning

Angkor Elephant Company manager Oan Kiri said yesterday that a decision was taken on Saturday to reduce the morning shift by half an hour and the afternoon shift by 20 minutes.

“We did it the day after Sambo died. After the weather becomes normal, I will reconsider it,” said Kiri. “I have reported this to the owner of the company and he said he has no objection.”

A veterinarian working for the firm concluded Sambo died of a heart attack induced by the sweltering temperatures last Friday, which soared to 40 degrees in nearby Siem Reap that day.

Jack Highwood, deputy director of animal welfare at Mondulkiri-based NGO the Elephant Valley Project, was dismissive of the shift reductions in an email yesterday.

“The elephants should not be there in the first place. They are wild animals that are meant to live in the forest,” he wrote.

“If they are only ‘working’ four hours then they are chained up to a post for 20 hours. Neither of which is ideal.”

Additional reporting by Jack Davies

MOST VIEWED

  • Serious flooding across country

    The Kampong Speu provincial Committee for Disaster Management on Wednesday issued an alert after non-stop heavy rain caused widespread flooding. In Koh Kong province, authorities are working with the disaster committee and the Cambodian Red Cross to assist those affected after more than 350 homes were

  • CNRP points to King in call for vote boycott

    Leaders of the former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) have taken a new tack in their call for a boycott of the national elections later this month. They are now claiming that the people should follow the King, who is expected to abide by tradition

  • Actress’s NGO takes heat for promoting the ruling party

    An actress’s NGO which participated in an election campaign event contrary to the Law on Association and Non-Governmental Organisations (Lango) has been slammed. Chorn Chanleakena, a celebrity and the president of the Association of Artists Volunteering to Help Society, allegedly led its members in

  • Troop moves ‘won’t worry people’

    Senior officials at the Ministry of Defence and National Police said on Tuesday that riot training provided to the country’s police forces were aimed at preventing unexpected demonstrations and strikes before and after the July 29 national elections. The troop mobilisation, they said, would not