The quiet life that Sambo leads today seems as distant from her past plight as the searing-hot streets she once trod as a tourist attraction in the far-off capital of Phnom Penh.
“Elephants are not meant to walk on concrete,” says Jemma Bullock, deputy director at the Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment and the Elephant Valley Project (EVP) near the community of Pu Trom in eastern Cambodia.
Sambo is one of 12 elephants currently residing at the EVP site in a blanket of forest draped over a scuttle of hills and valleys in Mondulkiri province. All but one of them have followed similar trajectories to this place. Aging and in many ways made obsolete by the mechanized world, these elephants have found solace living out their days wandering around the forest.