Home > Local News > Sambo heads to new home

Sambo heads to new home

Sambo, a bull elephant that has terrorised villagers in Kampong Speu,
is loaded onto a truck for transport to Phnom Tamao Zoo on Saturday.
Kampong Speu province

Sambo,
the bull elephant that terrorised a small village in Kampong Speu
province earlier this month, has finally found a new home at Phnom
Tamao Zoo, following a Herculean effort by Forestry Administration
officials and local NGOs to safely relocate him on Saturday.

Ahead of his arrival at the zoo, the raging hormonal beast, who was in the musth
period of his adult life – a time of intense aggression that affects
bull elephants periodically – was tranquilised and coaxed into a steel
cage while hundreds of villagers watched on.

For hours, local
vendors cashed in on the spectacle, selling coconut ice-cream and
loaves of bread to gawking locals who drank and cheered as the caged
Sambo was hoisted onto the back of a truck.

“The situation was
certainly not ideal. We were in a location close to many people and
this did not make looking after him easy,” said Jack Highwood, director
of the Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment.

“We had to
deal with people who wanted to get close [to] him, ride him, catch him
and drive him – and especially deal with drunken people who wanted to
take him home with them. However, we had great co-operation from the
local authorities and the fact that the elephant is still alive and
nobody else was killed was a huge achievement.”

After killing
his owner earlier this month, Sambo ran wild in Mon village, in Kampong
Speu’s Samrong Tong district, trampling rice fields and terrorising
locals. He was finally subdued on December 15 after being tranquilised
and chained up by officials from the Forestry Administration.

Sambo
has since lost 500-600 kilogrammes in weight after being put on a
strict diet and a road was built late last week to allow access to the
rice paddy where he was left stranded.

The road proved
troublesome for the truck used to transport him to the zoo. The large
vehicle sat in the mud for hours as rescue workers used a bulldozer to
push it closer to the elephant. An excavator was then used to bring the
cage closer to Sambo. Ropes were then tied around him to help steer him
toward the massive steel cage.

Sambo finally relented at about
4pm, giving up his three-week struggle and walked into the cage under
his own power, where he was lifted by crane onto the flatbed truck and
driven away.

Phnom Penh Post
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Categories: Local News
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