Riding elephants in Cambodia is still available for tourists. The provinces of Siem Reap, Mondulkiri and Ratanakiri have elephants used for rides. Every year fewer elephants remain in Cambodia. More tourists arrive from countries such as China where people has not been educated about the harm that elephant riding causes.
It is important that tourists who want to go riding elephants in Cambodia understand that this is very bad for the elephant’s health. Elephants are almost extinct in Cambodia and riding them makes them die at a younger age. Elephants that are being used for elephant rides do not get enough food and water to remain healthy. The elephants also spend too much time in the sun when they are being used for tourist rides.
Elephants used for tourist rides are often kept in poor conditions. They are treated cruelly to break their spirit and make them less powerful. Mahouts on their heads used tools with sharp spikes to force them to do something that they don’t like – having tourists ride on their backs.
Riding elephants in Cambodia occurs the most at Angkor Wat. Unfortunately tourist companies such as Angkor Focus and Smiles of Angkor sell elephant rides on their websites. Every year several of the elephants owned by the Angkor Wat elephant riding business die from being overworked. This company then goes to the east of Cambodia and buys new elephants to make more money from selling elephant riding tours.
The best and most enjoyable way to spend time with elephants during your stay in Cambodia is to book on a tour at an elephant sanctuary. At the Mondulkiri Project‘s elephant sanctuary you get to feed, walk with, wash and swim with elephants in their natural environment. Elephants at this sanctuary have been retired from being used for elephant rides. They will get to spend the rest of their lives eating as much bamboo as they want and swimming in the river whenever they want and playing in mud whenever they want.
Please help Cambodia’s remaining 68 domestic elephants by NOT riding elephants in Cambodia.