The Phnom Penh Post reported that an elderly female elephant collapsed and died last Friday (April 22).
The behemoth was estimated at around 40-45 years of age and was trained to ferry tourists in the historical Angkor Wat. The elephant died in the vicinity of Bakheng Mountain where the archaeological park’s temples are located.
“It had been walking for about 40 minutes”, said the spokesman from the Angkor Elephant company. He added that “The elephant had been working for the company since 2001.”
They were depressed by the loss of such creature. “After our veterinarian checked…we concluded that she died of heart attack due to high temperatures and lack of wind,” the spokesman told the paper.
It was at 40°C last Friday when the incident happened at Siem Reap.
Posted photos on Facebook by user Yem Senok, contributed to the outburst of netizens showing the elephant lying on its side by the road. Viral photo were shared over 8,000 times.
Mr. Jack Highwood of the Cambodia-based conservation group Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment said that there are still 13 elephants working for the Angkor Elephant Company. It is the largest concentration of captive elephants in the country.
A change.org petition was then put up, cries out for an end to elephant riding at the Angkor Wat. It got over 12,000 signatures.