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    Should elephant riding be banned?

    By Lilit Marcus
    May 05, 2016, 10:02:44 AM EDT

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    After an elephant dies of a heart attack in Cambodia, a petition circulates to end the practice.

    Elephants are some of the most magnificent animals in the world, but not all tourists are content to simply admire them from a distance. Earlier this week in Cambodia, an elephant named Sambo, who was ferrying tourists around in 104-degree weather at Angkor Wat, collapsed and died of what veterinarians said was a combination of heart attack and heat stroke. (It's not clear if there were humans on top of her when she collapsed.) Sambo's death made waves after a photo of her, lying on the ground, was circulated on Facebook, and soon afterward a petition was started on Change.org asking ASPARA, the governing body that controls the Angkor temples, to ban elephant riding at the UNESCO site.

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    The petition has garnered more than 60,000 signatures in just five days. Calling elephant riding "a cruel tourist attraction that is proven to be harmful to elephants" and "a horrific practice," the petition adds: "There is no such thing as cruelty-free elephant rides. Tourists may think that riding an elephant on holiday does not cause harm—you often can't see the cruelty—it's hidden from view. What you don’t realize is that a ‘once in a lifetime’ or 'bucket list' item for you, means a lifetime of misery for wild animals."

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