When people from the West travel abroad, they’re thrilled to get up close and personal with exotic wildlife. Sometimes this isn’t an issue, but there are destinations where the money generated by tourism perpetuates animal abuse; tourists usually don’t know simply visiting these animals is contributing to their torture.
Cambodian elephant Sambo was one such poorly treated creature. She spent her entire life transporting tourists to and from a popular attraction, but one day the conditions simply became too much for the poor elephant to handle.

The temperature was over 100 degrees when Cambodian elephant Sambo collapsed from heat exhaustion. Without as much as a cool breeze, let alone enough water to sate the tremendous animal, she died there on the spot.
Sambo was a work elephant, used by a tourist company to ferry visitors to Angkor Wat, the largest temple complex in Cambodia. All day long she carried people back and forth in the exhausting heat with few or no breaks and little food or water.
Sambo was far from alone in her situation. Around half a million animals are kept and worked in inhumane and unsafe conditions as part of the tourism industry, which gives them poor quality of life and an artificially low life expectancy.
The lesson Westerners should take from Sambo’s passing is that when traveling abroad, it’s important to be wary of and avoid using tourist companies that employ animals. By steering clear of this kind of animal abuse and reducing the demand for inhumane animal attractions, hopefully we can give other animals a better life than Sambo had.
It’s hard to believe people would treat animals so cruelly for something like a tourist attraction. Sambo deserved better, and so do all the other animals still trapped in similar circumstances.
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