Cambodia Will Ban Elephant Rides At Angkor Wat In 2020

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Cambodia Will Ban Elephant Rides At Angkor Wat In 2020Sara Sang/Facebook/Moving Animals

Cambodia will ban elephant rides at Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s biggest attraction, in 2020. 

Over 2.5 million tourists visit the temple complex every year, with many clamouring to embark on an elephant ride in spite of the animals’ suffering.


However, soon the 14 elephants at Angkor Wat will no longer be overworked for the sake of tourism as the Angkor Elephant Group Committee has confirmed they will be moved to a conservation and breeding centre by early 2020.

The announcement comes three years after an elephant collapsed and died while carrying two tourists to the famous Cambodian temple.

At the time, The Independent reported a veterinarian examined the elephant and determined it died ‘due to high temperatures, heat exhaustion and lack of wind that would have helped to cool her’.


Just two years later another animal died from exhaustion.

The tragic events sparked outrage across the world and in the 48 hours following the second elephant’s death, a petition to end elephant rides gained over 14,000 signatures.

According to the Metro, Oan Kiry, director of the Angkor Elephant Group Committee, explained tourists would still be able to see the elephants but the animals wouldn’t be worked harshly. Instead, they will live more naturally at the conservation centre.


She said:

In early 2020, our association plans to end the use of elephants to transport tourists.

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.

Campaign group Moving Animals, which works to raise awareness of the cruelty behind elephant riding, has expressed their delight at the move, calling it a ‘great relief’.


A spokesperson said:

The end of elephant rides at Angkor Wat is truly a watershed moment that shows the tide is turning against cruel wildlife tourism.

More and more tourists no longer want to pay to see animals in chains or captivity, and attractions where elephant riding continues, need to ban these rides if they are to stay in favour with tourists and animal lovers.

It’s believed there are still around 70 domesticated elephants in Cambodia, while experts believe there are roughly 500 in the wild, includes around 110 living in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and nearly 200 in the Cardamom Mountains.


Hopefully the ban on elephant rides will ensure the animals are treated with the respect they deserve in future.

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Topics: Animals, Cambodia, elephants


The Independent and 1 other
  1. The Independent

    Elephant dies from exhaustion after decades carrying tourists to Cambodia's Angkor Wat

  2. Metro

    Elephant rides to stop at Cambodia’s biggest attraction

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