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Sambo the elephant may be evicted from her Wat Phnom home

By: Diana Saw Posted: November-16-2010 in
Diana Saw

Very sad news. My friend Mariam Arthur has been working hard to find Sambo the elephant (the only one in Phnom Penh) a permanent home. The 50 year old elephant survived the war, Khmer Rouge, only to face yet another challenge. There does not seem to be a place for him in the modern city that is Phnom Penh. Elephants live till a hundred so Sambo will need a place to stay for the next 50 years.

Sambo's owner Sinsorn was told on the 11 November that Sambo must leave Wat Phnom and never return because people complain Sambo disrupts traffic.

Mariam feels the best place for Sambo is the Royal Palace. Sambo needs a safe place to sleep at night. I was horrified to read this from Mariam: "Not only is this instability bad for her health, she is susceptible to nighttime raids by men trying to cut pieces of her for their magic power."

Mariam has written to various Cambodian authorities. On Nov 12, she received a rejection letter from the Royal Palace. (To see all correspondence, please visit this facebook page.)

The most urgent thing now is food for Sambo. "Sambo's only source of income for food was by giving rides at Wat Phnom. Therefore, after she finishes today's food supply, she will no longer have any food," Mariam writes.

If you have been touched by Sambo in some way, as I have (I attended her 50th birthday party and was moved to tears by the gentle animal), please consider giving Sambo money for food until she and her owner/caretaker Sinsorn is able to find a way to earn money for food. You can contact Mariam at theroadgypsy [at] gmail [dot] com.

If you doubt Sinsorn's love for Sambo, please read this touching story of how Sinsorn met Sambo as a child and man and elephant were reunited after the war. There seems to be genuine affection between the two. You can read it here at (strike this) (I have just been informed by the editor of Southeast Asia Globe that the blogger i originally credited had plagiarised Grzegorz Ostrega's original story for the Globe. Shame on you somanorodom. You give all bloggers a bad name and shame on me for assuming you are a blogger like me, writing things from your heart.)

If you have any good ideas on how to help Sambo, please do let me know.


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