Late Sunday night, Cambodia’s now-retired resident pachyderm Sambo, along with Louise Rogerson from Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation (EARS), a mahout, and the son of Sambo’s owner, made a four-hour journey on foot to the elephant’s new home in the city’s Sen Sok district.
Accomplished with the help of medication to ease the pain of wounds in the elephant’s feet, the journey was the last that Sambo will make for a long time, EARS said in a statement yesterday.
Rather than providing daily rides to tourists around Phnom Penh’s Wat Phnom, Sambo will receive medical care so that her feet—which were found to be inflamed and infected during a medical examination in November—can recover.
Dr. Paolo Martelli, who conducted the original examination of Sambo, will assist in her rehabilitation. The first bout of treatment will last for one year, after which a review will be conducted to determine the next stage of recovery, the statement said.
Dr. Martelli believes Sambo’s injuries could take up to two years to heal and that she will never fully recover because her injuries went untreated for too long.
EARS is funding the entirety of Sambo’s medical care and is also helping Sambo’s owner, Sin Sorn, with a remuneration package to assist with costs including the elephant’s food, water and electricity while in retirement.
Mr. Sorn said he paid $5,000 of his own money to build Sambo’s new shelter, which Ms. Rogerson confirmed.
Correcting information on Sunday that the municipality is looking for a replacement elephant, the Deputy Director of the Municipality’s Tourism Department Som Chanren said yesterday that the city will have no more elephant attractions.
“City Hall has stopped Sambo from doing business and has told her owner to take her to the provinces. It has also decided not to have business in Phnom Penh,” he said.