Elephant rides to be banned at Angkor Wat from 2020

Posted on 14 June 2019

Elephant rides at Cambodia’s largest tourist attraction, Angkor Wat, will be banned from 2020. Over 2.5-million people visit the iconic religious site annually and 14 elephants transport many of the visitors between temples.

The Angkor Elephant Group Committee has confirmed that by 2020 the 14 Angkor Wat elephants will be moved to a conservation and breeding centre.

‘In early 2020, our association plans to end the use of elephants to transport tourists’ Oan Kiry, Director of the Angkor Elephant Group Committee, told The Phnom Penh Post. ‘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.’

The rides at Angkor Wat first attracted international attention three years ago when a female elephant carrying two tourists, one at a time, between two temples collapsed and died from exhaustion. Two years later another elephant suffered the same fate, sparking outrage and international outcry about the treatment of these ellies.

After the second death a petition to stop the elephants from ferrying tourists got over 14,000 signatures within 48 hours.

The announcement has been welcomed by many animal rights groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Save The Asian Elephants (STAE).

According to Unilad, ‘It’s believed there are still around 70 domesticated elephants in Cambodia, while experts believe there are roughly 500 in the wild.’


Image credit: Unsplash


Also read: Greece bans heavyweights from donkey rides

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