Sambo was unarguably Cambodia’s most famous elephant. For many years she was a permanent feature at Wat Phnom, Phnom Penh, giving rides to tourists visiting Cambodia’s Capital. She was originally caught in the Aural mountains before the war and was the sole survivor of 5 elephants that owners family had trained and worked before the war. After the civil war finished she was brought to Phnom Penh to give rides to children, tourists and many Khmer often came to visit her and to feed her fruits.
In 2012 she was retired from tourist trekking and kept near Pochentong Airport by a small elephant organisation called Ears until March 2014 when they stopped funding her care. In September 2014 her owner, Mr Sin Sorn, decided to retire her to the EVP. ELIE was supported by the Abraham Foundation and USAID and over 84 private donors the funds were raised to organize her rescue. After 30+ years in the city she has returned to the forest.
Sambo settled in and had some small adventures of her own! She met most of the other ele residents and her and Milot developed a budding friendship before she passed. Our lovely Ruby met Sambo and their love was immediate. Watching Sambo learn how to socialize was truly amazing.
She was a wonderful old elephant and we are so happy to have been able to give her the opportunity to live her last years in the forest, albeit still having to receive daily foot care treatments for her damaged feet. We are just so grateful to her owner for retiring her to our elephant sanctuary and allowing her to once again become a real elephant.
You can find a great video about her rescue HERE
Unfortunately the last year or so of her life Sambo showed signed of her old age and previous working life. Her teeth then started to deteriorate and once she got a tooth infection it was too much for her. She sadly passed away in Oct 2023.