Every year, over 2.5 million people make the journey to visit Angkor Wat, Cambodia’s enormous temple complex. Its role as the most popular tourist attraction in the country means that a host of other tourism services have sprung up to support travelers. One of the most controversial parts of this destination is the elephant rides offered at Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Park. But now, thanks to pressure from activists, the park is instituting a ban on elephant rides starting in 2020.
It’s a big step for the park’s management company Apsara, which announced the new policy in June 2019. At the time, it said that two of the fourteen elephants located in the park had already been relocated to a nearby forest and that the others would make the move early next year. At that point, they will be allowed to live naturally under the care of the Elephant Management Association.