Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Sambopulls a Houdini

Sambopulls a Houdini

Sambopulls a Houdini

The mystery of the whereabouts of Wat Phnom's elephant Sambo has been solved.

Phnom Penhois may have noticed Sambo's absence last week from her usual post circumnavigating

the city's mythical birthplace with customers perched on top.

Rumors abounded about her fate. "The elephant went to Kampong Chhnang,"

one Wat Phnom regular told a family looking for an elephant ride. "She fell

over and hurt herself," said another.

On Wednesday Sambo was back on her beat. "She was having a holiday," said

her trainer Sin Surn. "Well, actually I went to a party in Kampong Speu and

she was resting at Boulding [her home]. Elephants need to rest too."

Born in Kampong Speu, Sambo, 47, has been a Wat Phnom fixture for more than two decades.

A strict fruitarian, she loves sugar cane and bananas. She is also exceptionally

clean as she showers seven times a day with Surn's assistance.

Despite the purity of lifestyle Sambo is not always a model of good behavior. "She's

mean," said 11-year-old Ol Sithart, Surn's nephew who helps look after Sambo.

"When she's mad she whacks me with her trunk and legs." However, Sithart

concedes she only gets grumpy when people abuse her.

Surn denies this allegation: "My elephants are kind, and she's never hurt anyone."

"I'm a good trainer," he said.

Surn, 51, and Sambo grew up together. He said he had other elephants too but the

Khmer Rouge killed and ate them. "They thought elephant meat was really delicious,

but I would never eat an elephant."

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,