Cambodia makes a huge change by abolishing the elephant ride from its tourist attraction list. (Image via My Five Acres)

Cambodia to ban elephant ride

After panning criticisms from animal rights groups around the world, elephant ride attraction in the ASEAN regions will finally be put to an end. One of the countries to ban the harrowing attraction will be Cambodia. In June 2019, Cambodia said that in early 2020, it will stop offering elephant ride.

Apsara, the management authority for the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, Cambodia, confirmed the rumor. While it will start in early 2020, the elephants are relocated to the community forest. As a prove, on 15 November, two elephants from 14 elephants in the park had been relocated. The dozen will follow.

A representative from Apsara said that it was enough for the elephants to be used for tourism, and it was time for them to live in a natural surrounding with its kind.

The world started to condemn elephant ride in 2016 when an elephant in Cambodia, named Sambo, died at the archaeological park. Its death was allegedly caused by the heatstroke and the exhaustion from bringing tourists around all day.

Even worse, statistics in 2018 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) tabulated the population of elephants in the ASEAN region that declined by 50 percent in three generations. Tourists began to leave the Angkor Archeological Park for that, and the tourist number keeps declining.

From January to September 2019, only 1.8 million foreign tourists are visiting the Angkor, a 13.7 percent decline from the same period in 2018.

Whether the move by Cambodia will once again bring the tourists back to the archeological park, it can’t be predicted. One thing for sure, Cambodia had taken the right step by banning animal-related tourist attractions when the world is getting more aware of animal rights.