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Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.

The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists – which topped six million in 2018 – and many opt for elephant rides around the ancient temples.

But these rides “will end by the start of 2020”, said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.

“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore, ” he said, adding that some of the animals were “already old”.

So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40km away from the temples.

“They will live out their natural lives there, ” Kosal said.

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