Angkor Wat is a temple complex visited by more than 2.5 million tourists every year, many of which love elephants ride there, despite the suffering the giant animal goes through.

Thankfully, the 14 elephants working at the temple will soon be freed from this distress, because, according to Angkor Elephant Group Committee, they will be taken to a conservation and breeding center by early 2020.

Three years after an elephant had collapsed and died in the middle of an ongoing ride, the announcement has been made. Reportedly, a veterinarian examined the elephant and revealed that he died due to the high-temperature exhaustion.

Then, only two years later, the incident happened again—another elephant died due to exhaustion. The tragic incident made animal lovers all over the world outrageous and within 48 hours after the second death, a petition to end the elephant rides got signed over 14,000 signatures.

The director of the Angkor Elephant Group Committee, Oan Kirby, the tourists would be able to see the elephants but they wouldn’t be made to work in a highly uncomfortable condition. They will now live more naturally and happily at the conservation center.

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 center. We want the elephants to live in as natural a manner as possible.”

The campaign group has been absolutely delighted over this news, as they work to raise awareness about elephant riding and how cruel it can get.

A spokesperson of the campaign group 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 favor with tourists and animal lovers.”

Around 70 elephants are guessed to still be domesticated in Cambodia, while there are around 500 in the wild. This includes about 110 living in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and around 200 in the Cardamom Mountains.

What great news! We hope this ban will teach people to treat these precious animals with love, care, and respect.

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