"They Will Live Out Their Natural Lives": Cambodia To Stop Elephant Rides To Angkor Wat Temple From 2020
The upcoming year seems to be a new ray of hope for the elephants in Cambodia as starting from 2020, the country is going to ban elephant rides to the famous Angkor Wat temple.
All the elephants, especially the older ones, will be moved back to the jungles which will then become a new home for them.
The famous temple located in Siem Reap is famous for attracting tourists from all over the world. The elephant rides have been prevalent in the temple premises since 2001. Elephants were also trained by their handlers to perform for the tourists.
Many elephants were aging and their health deteriorated because of the way they were used for the tourists’ entertainment. The handlers have also been accused of overworking and treating the elephants cruelly.
In 2016, a female elephant named Sambo passed away due to heart failure which had resulted in a worldwide outrage against the cruel treatment. An online petition, which had garnered around more than 150,000 signatures, was also created.
APSARA, an agency under the Cambodian government taking care of the Angkor temple and the Siem Reap region, came under the radar for this cruelty. A lot of pressure was put on the agency to do away with this practice. Eventually, the agency caved in to the pressure.
The tourists will now just be allowed to see the elephants but not ride them. Reported by The Tab, a spokesperson from the agency said, “Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore. They will live out their natural lives in the forest.”
He also stated that it is important for these animals to live the rest of their lives in their natural habitat and they should not be used for the amusement of the public anymore. Out of the 14 elephants that worked there, five have already been moved to community forest.