Cambodia’s Ending Elephant Rides at Popular Tourist Attraction

Animal advocates are celebrating another win for elephants, who will soon no longer have to cart tourists on their backs to the temple complex of Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

The popular tourist attraction draws more than 2.5 million visitors every year, and elephant rides have been a big draw. Unfortunately, it’s caused immense suffering.

In 2016, an elephant carrying tourists collapsed and died sparking international outrage. At the time, The Independent reported that a veterinarian said she died “”due to high temperatures, heat exhaustion and lack of wind that would have helped to cool her.”

According to Metro, the Angkor Elephant Group Committee confirmed that the 13 elephants currently being used to give rides will soon be moved to a breeding and conservation center.

“In early 2020, our association plans to end the use of elephants to transport tourists,” said Oan Kiry, director of the Angkor Elephant Group Committee. “They can still watch the elephants and take photos of them in our conservation and breeding centre. We want the elephants to live in as natural a manner as possible.”

While riding an elephant might be a once in a lifetime experience for tourists, it’s a lifetime of misery for elephants.

In 2016, elephant rides were named by World Animal Protection as one of the worst tourist attractions in the world, and later brought to light how elephant tourism across Asia is promoting animal cruelty.

Not only are young elephants separated from their mothers and forced to undergo a cruel training process known as ‘the crush,’ they’re then forced into lifetimes of being used to carry people, and are often kept in inadequate conditions without proper care. Sadly this industry doesn’t just hurt individuals who are exploited, but the entire population, which is endangered, by also removing individuals from the wild.

Fortunately things are changing for the better when it comes to tourist attractions that use animals. Thanks to campaigning from animal advocacy and conservation organizations, many tour operators have stopped offering elephant rides, and a growing number of tourism companies around the world have taken steps to stop promoting attractions that are harmful to elephants, and other wild animals.

“The end of elephant rides at Angkor Wat is truly a watershed moment that shows the tide is turning against cruel wildlife tourism,” said a spokesperson for Moving Animals.

Hopefully the change in Cambodia will help raise awareness about the plight of Asian elephants who are increasingly threatened, and how harmful elephant rides are, while more places will also hopefully make similar changes to end this type of exploitation.

For more info on how to help, check out World Animal Protection’sáWildlife ľ Not Entertainersácampaign and itsáanimal-friendly tourism guide.

Photo credit: Getty Images

93 comments

silja s
silja salonenyesterday

YAY YAHOO YIPPEE

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Peggy B
Peggy B3 days ago

Great news

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Paulo R
Paulo R3 days ago

great news. thanks Cambodia

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Olivia H
Olivia H4 days ago

I'm glad

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Carol C
Carol C6 days ago

Excellent news! Hope this is the beginning of a much needed trend.

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Judith H
Judith Hannah6 days ago

Thankyou

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Alea C
Alea C14 days ago

It's looking like Care2 isn't going to be posting any more stories, so every day I will post on these old ones for the butterfly points because I want to save the rain forest.

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Alea C
Alea C14 days ago

It's looking like Care2 isn't going to be posting any more stories, so every day I will post on these old ones for the butterfly points because I want to save the rain forest.

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson16 days ago

Thank you.

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Daniel N
Daniel N20 days ago

tyfs

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