Recently, The Dodo posted an article about the tragic death of an elephant while giving rides to tourists in unbearable heat--up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. A veterinarian who examined Sambo after the female elephant collapsed said she died of a heart attack "due to high temperatures, heat exhaustion and lack of wind that would have helped to cool her".
These animals are literally being worked to death--shuttling tourists around under scorching temperatures. Aside from this abuse that's out in the open, there's also the abuse that these poor elephants endure behind closed doors to make them obedient and trainable. Referred to as the "training crush", this process involves beating and terrorizing elephants, including baby elephants, to crush their spirits to the point of submission.
Sambo's death from extreme exhaustion is not an isolated incident. There are about 12,000 captive elephants in Asia under similar circumstances, including Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Thailand. Many elephants just like Sambo have collapsed and died from these seemingly innocent, romanticized elephant rides, or "treks".
It's disheartening that this tourist attraction is still in high demand even as the world fights to prevent elephant extinction (with an estimated 100 African elephants dying every day by poachers).
Sign this petition urging APSARA Authority to end elephant riding in Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Next, join World Animal Protection in urging TripAdvisor Inc. to stop promoting and selling cruel wildlife tourist attractions.
The video below shows the gut-wrenching process of "crushing" elephants. Even if you can't get yourself to watch it, please spread the word to help put an end to elephant rides.