Phnom Penh, April 26 (IANS) Thousands of people on Tuesday called for an end to wildlife tourism rides in Cambodia after an elephant dropped dead from exhaustion.
The elephant was walking for about 40 minutes around the country’s famed Angkor Wat in scorching heat before it collapsed on Friday, Xinhua news agency reported.
The tusker was trained for rides at the archaeological park in Siem Reap.
Oan Kiri, manager of the Angkor Elephant Company, said it died of heart attack due to high temperatures and oppressive air.
Friday’s tragedy has sparked an online petition signed by more than 22,400 people who called for an end to elephant rides at the spot.
“A cruel tourist attraction that is harmful to elephants and only damages the tourism industry of Cambodia, must come to an end,” a statement on the Change.org read.
The elephant’s death should be the “final wake-up call” for the community and industry to take steps, the statement said.
At least 550,000 wild animals suffer at the hands of tourist attractions around the world, according to estimates in an article posted on the website of World Animal Protection, an international non-profit animal welfare organisation.