Wednesday, 16 February 2011 20:48 Adam Miller and Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
Sambo, the aggressive bull elephant that rampaged through a Kampong Speu village in December, tragically died on Monday during a routine veterinary procedure at Phnom Tamao Zoo in Takeo province, said forestry officials and NGO representatives.
“I’m absolutely devastated by this loss … I was directly involved in all of it,” Nick Marx, wildlife rescue director at Wildlife Alliance, said today. “The Forestry Administration wanted to sedate him so that the chains around his legs could be readjusted.”
After Sambo was sedated by Forestry Administration veterinary personnel following a protracted illness, his weakened state proved to be more fragile than anticipated, according to a statement issued by WA on Monday.
The statement said he collapsed and was unable to stand up before a crane could be organised to assist him.
“In the end we did come in to try and help but by that point it was too late,” said WA spokesman John Maloy.
Jack Highwood, director of the Elephants Livelihood Initiative Environment NGO in Mondulkiri, was distraught after he heard of Sambo’s death.
“This is a huge loss and is really sad – a waste of an elephant. There are now 121 elephants in Cambodia, and every few months we have one less and one less,” he said today from Mondulkiri.
Highwood and his team played a central role in Sambo’s capture and transport to the zoo in December.
Nhek Ratanapich, director of the Phnom Tamao Zoo, said that though they were still assessing Sambo’s cause of death, he was buried at the zoo on Monday near his potential mate Srey Pao.
“So far, we have not completely figured out the reason for Sambo’s death, but according to our pre-examination, he died due to very poor health and an intestinal disease,” he said today. “However, we are now very regretful about his death.”