After years of ritual abuse at the hands of mahouts — elephant handlers — the animals have mentally or physically suffered enough and this is causing more elephants to rampage and more elephants are collapsing while working than ever before.
In April, an elephant called Sambo died in Angkor Wat from sheer exhaustion after being overworked in soaring Cambodian temperatures: her heart simply could not bear any more stress.
Sambo was in her forties when she collapsed. A healthy elephant could be expected to live another 30 years.
Sambo’s death is symptomatic of a wider problem, with Southeast Asia now experiencing its worst heat wave in over six decades.[…]