Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Elephant death leads to extinction concerns

Elephant death leads to extinction concerns

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A 53-year-old male elephant named Kham Khen died on Sunday from chronic abscess disease on his back. Mondulkiri Information Department

Elephant death leads to extinction concerns

A local Elephant conservation organisation in Mondulkiri province has expressed concern about the declining domestic elephant population after a 53-year-old male pachyderm named Kham Khen died on Sunday from chronic abscess disease on his back.

“Since 2017, the number of domestic elephants in Mondulkiri decreased subsequently and so far the breeding of domestic elephants in Cambodia has not been successful,” said Khun Dlyon, director of the elephant conservation organisation Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment.

Dlyon said a survey carried out by his organisation found eight elephants to have died since 2017.

Five domestic elephants died in 2017. Three died of illness, another was shot by authorities when it charged villagers and another from Mondulkiri province died after falling into a pit in Snuol district in Kratie province.

Two more elephants died in 2018. One was sick and the other died as its owner didn’t provide food when it was in rut (displaying behaviour associated with the urge to breed).

There were 70 domestic elephants in Mondulkiri province 20 years ago, according to Dlyon. But indigenous peoples do not allow domestic elephants to breed. Ageing and disease have resulted in a series of deaths and only 38 elephants remain.

“After the death of Kham Khen, the number of domestic elephants in Mondulkiri has dropped to 37 and could lead to the extinction of elephants in that area if there is no protection and conservation, and if the villagers continue to adhere to the beliefs of their ancestors,” he said.

Mondulkiri provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak said not allowing domestic elephants to reproduce naturally would risk their extinction. He said the number of remaining domestic elephants is less than 40, and some of them are too old to breed.

“We are encouraging elephant owners to engage in conservation by letting their elephants breed naturally and stop using them as transportation,” he said.

Kham Khen’s funeral was held on Wednesday by its owner Chreum Chrun and his family, as well as the villagers, following their traditions and beliefs, said Krang Tes commune police chief Yoem Ban.

“According to the beliefs of Bunong indigenous people, the funeral of an elephant is the same as the funeral of a person.

“The funeral ceremony is three days and three nights according to ethnic traditions. The carcass of the elephant will be buried near their home with a proper fence around the grave,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro