Cambodia’s star elephant retires

2012-01-30 08:05

Cambodia’s best-known elephant has retired following a campaign to get her medical attention.

Sambo, aged 52, is a familiar sight in Phnom Penh, where she provides regular rides to tourists through the city streets.

The pachyderm has now retired after 30 years in the capital, The Cambodia Daily reported today.

“The municipality sees that Sambo is now very old and sick. We decided that she should retire,” said Som Chanren, deputy director of the city tourism department.

The elephant has been the centre of controversy since Hong Kong-based vet, Paolo Martelli, found that Sambo was painfully lame in October.

Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation launched an on-line petition calling for her retirement and said there was “a strong possibility” that the animal could collapse on the streets.

The organisation promised to fund her medical treatment on retirement.

Sambo was found by her owner’s family in Kampong Speu province 44 years ago. The family reportedly tracked her down after the fall of the Khmer Rouge regime, during which Sambo was separated from her owners.

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