Petition against the abuse of elephants in Angkor, Cambodia

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During February of 2020, I had the incredible privilege to visit the country of Cambodia. My first stop in Cambodia was in Siem Reap with a main goal of visiting the temples of Angkor. In order to fully appreciate the temples and the massive area over which the temples spanned, I decided I would travel around Angkor on foot. My first impressions as I arrived at Angkor Wat were of immense awe and wonder. The meticulous detail and gargantuan size of these temples truly took my breath away. After I had explored and appreciated Angkor Wat I made my way north from the east side of Angkor Wat towards Angkor Thom through jungle trails. It was here that I stumbled across an extremely upsetting sight. There were two elephants in a field roughly one hundred meters away from each other, clearly out of sight and off the beaten path, who were chained to trees by all four legs so tightly they could not move an inch. The elephants were in the glaring sun, with no water or food in sight, and were rocking back and forth. This rocking or swaying is a proven sign that the elephants were in extreme distress. Who knows how long they had already been in this state or how much longer they would have to endure. The elephants were seemingly being guarded by a man in the field nearby with a gun slung over his shoulder, so after fully taking in the scene I went on my own way. These elephants have been on my mind since. 

Elephants are widely considered to be among the smartest animals on earth. Elephants manifest a wide variety of behaviours, including those associated with grief, learning, mimicry, play, altruism, use of tools, compassion, cooperation, self-awareness, memory, and communication. It is for these reasons that the abuse of elephants is intolerable and must be addressed. By focusing on one particular case which is relatively achievable, a process of accountability may begin in Cambodia in regards to the treatment of these amazing animals.

This petition will be sent to Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism with a goal of bringing justice to these elephants and have them brought to a proper sanctuary, as well as to raise awareness for the proper treatment of all captive animals.