Confirmed victory

Sombo is a 51 year old, female elephant, living a solitary life in the city of Phnom Penh for the last 30 years. She walks a 4km round trip from her living area behind a casino to Wat Phnom temple. Sombo stands at the temple up to 9 hours a day, 4 days a week, with a heavy chair on her back and gives rides to tourists. This poor elephant has appalling feet, and limps due to a painful abscess and overgrown toenails that have been neglected due to her owners greed for money.

On Sat 29th October 2011, EARS funded and supported the entire medical examination for Sombo. Her owners were eager for us to examine their elephant due to her foot condition.

Dr Paolo Martelli, DMV (liege), CertZooMed (RCVS), Chief Veterinarian, Ocean Park, Hong Kong, flew to Phnom Penh to issue a full medical report. His conclusion states that she is painfully lame as a result of pododermatitis, osteitis, ostoelysis, deep sepsis and other lesions. Furthermore, if the lameness is not improved drastically it will lead to degeneration of all joints in all limbs. This will result in an incapacitated animal. The main reason explaining the limb lesions is the lifestyle of the animal which involves walking on hard ground, and walking on hard ground on damaged feet.

SOMBO NEEDS URGENT TREATMENT - Her owners are sadly putting the tourist dollar before their elephant’s health.

EARS will fund the entire medical treatment if this elephant is retired. We are unable to treat her whilst she still walks on hard ground as advised by the vet.

We need YOUR help. We need you to voice your concern by signing this petition to the authorities in Cambodia. Then please share the petition widely on twitter, via facebook, by email and channels. We must be her voice.

For Sombo Elephant!

For more information about Sombo and how you can assist please visit: or 

Letter to
Royal Delegate in Charge of Director General of Forestry Administration H.E Cheng Kimsun
Minister of Tourism H.E Dr. Thong Khon
Governor of Phnom Penh H.E Kep Chuk Tema
and 2 others
Governor of Phnom Penh H.E Kep Chuk Tema
Secretary of State: Directorate of Museums and Directorate of Heritage H.E. Chuch Phoeurn
Retire Sombo and Ban Elephant Tourism

As a concerned individual, I am writing to you today to appeal for your immediate intervention in a situation that is affecting the wellbeing of a treasured national icon, Sombo, an Asian Elephant owned by Mr Sin Sorn. Her health has deteriorated and she urgently needs your assistance. You have the power to assist her, for her sake and for Cambodia’s reputation, please help.

I know you have received many letters from concerned people both Cambodian nationals and international individuals, just like me, and from elephant rescue and welfare organisations asking that Sombo be retired from tourism service. I wish to add my voice to the international and national call for Sombo’s retirement and a permanent ban of the use of Elephants as tourist attractions in Phnom Penh.

Elephant Asia Rescue and Survival Foundtion (EARS) recently at their own cost had Sombo assessed by a highly qualified veterinarian Dr Paolo Martelli, DMV (liege), CertZooMed (RCVS), Chief Veterinarian, Ocean Park, Hong Kong and his reccomendations are that Sombo requires immediate and intensive veterinary treatment for the absess in her foot, and to improve her overall condition. Elephants Asia Rescue and Survival Foundation (EARS) have paid for this highly qualified assessment and are willing to pay for her treatment but she must be retired permanently from active service in the tourism industry for the treatment to be effective.

For Sombo’s sake, please order her retirement, and for all future elephants sake – please permenantly ban elephants in tourism in the city of Phnom Penh.

Yours sincerely
with great concern,