I’m pleased to update you on the status of Sambo, the “rogue elephant” whom Wildlife Alliance has successfully rescued and brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center, thanks to the support of generous donors like you.
Sambo’s safe capture on December 15th was only the beginning of the challenge. The rescue and transport on Christmas Day 2010 was an ordeal, but despite great technical obstacles, Sambo was sedated, guided into a purpose-built cage, and lifted by crane onto a flatbed truck - in the middle of a rice paddy! Our Chief Communications Officer, John Maloy, documented the entire rescue and transport in photography and narrative for Wildlife Alliance’s field blog. I invite you to read his documentation of the eventful evening on our website.
Sambo is a full-grown, 50-year old male elephant standing more than three meters tall and weighing five tons. Since he is a known killer who was reportedly mistreated in captivity, improving his demeanor and behavior will take years. But we are already seeing positive first steps. The Phnom Penh Post reports on January 3, 2011 that “Sambo’s health has improved, and his temper and stress have decreased in captivity.” According to veterinarian Nhim Ty, “I am very pleased that Sambo has now become a kind and good elephant again, and his stress or temper now have been released from his mind.”
According to Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Rescue Director - Nick Marx, Sambo is comfortable in his temporary enclosure at Phnom Tamao. He will need a long-term dedicated enclosure, but it will be cheaper to construct a new enclosure for the 3 females behind our existing elephant enclosures. Building these additional enclosures and continuing to work with Sambo to ensure his happiness and wellbeing are our next steps.
But as you are aware this will be an ongoing story and therefore we encourage you follow Wildlife Alliance’s field blog, Twitter feed @wildliferescue, and Facebook page for the latest news on Sambo, Chhouk, the other rescued elephants under our care, and all our programs in forest and wildlife protection.
Please feel free to be in touch with me if you have any questions or comments. Thank you once again for your generous support!
Sambo on truck
Sambo at Phnom Tamao