Friday, December 16, 2011

Visit to Sambo in Phnom Penh 14 December 2011

I also met Mariam Arthur again, and explained my point of view, that Sambo should not only be retired, but also hospitalized, and seen as a patient, which also means stopped worked, and away from Phnom Penh.  

I also told her that I think further ridings in Phnom Penh should be stopped. Cambodia can not be compared with europe or America, concearning laws for animal protection and prevention of animal abuse. 

New elephants at Wat Phnom will only result in more elephants getting permanent damages in their joints and feet, since it appears that Sin Sorn does not take normal professional consideration in regards to his animals, and neglect her health, in order to get more income from her.

Mariam wanted to see Sambo again, and asked if I cared to join her, which I did, and we went to the area opposite the Australian Embassy and met Sin Sorn and Sambo.

When you see Sambo on distance under a tree, it looks almost idyllic. But when you get close, the picture changes.

Her nails had really been shortened, but the laength of the nails is now a secondary problem, as can be seen here and on close-ups. 

The left front foot has abcesses between the nails, and is completely dry. Skin has dropped of from several areas. That legs is completely stiff, she does not bend it it when she walks, probably comination of the abcesses, general infection in the foot, and arthritis, which is often side effect of hard flooring, and unsufficiant diet.

A close-up from the picture above, between the two large nails, where you can see an abcess. The rest of surrounding skin is in very bad shape, and the area where the skin meets the nails, is completely dry.

Above the nails are sweat glands, and if the get to dry, they may close and later sometimes turned into an abcess. When I work elephants in Zoos, I often use high pressure washing on this area, in order to keep it clean, and give stimulation to those spots.

Heres a close-up from the picture above, showing an abcess right of the large nail, and apart from that, skin dry, skin fell off, the foot is in very bad general condition.


The left front foot, also dry, dead skin above the nails, and between the nails you see like a small ball with pus, the his foot has also abccesses.

Pathetically, some violet spray has been used on the skin, which likely can be compared to painting iodine on the skin of a cancer patient...

You can see how the accesses looks like balls, coming from the pressure of the inside infection.

The abcess under her foot has now closed much more, and the dirt is stucked inside the cracks...

The whole foot is swollen like a balloon.

This is how her sole looked like some months ago:
Theres no chance that the abcess is cured, what happened is that the commuicaton to the abcess is reduced or closed, and this means that the infection is getting more pressure from below, and developes higher up in her bones.

Her back feet soles looks pretty OK
But also her back feet show stress symptoms, and are very dry.
Skin dry and has fallen off the foot, and eventually an abcess opening between the nails.

Sambo and Sin Sorn

I want to point out that Sin Sorn is very polite and sympathic. He doesnt seem to be an evil man at all. But in his deeds he has now become an extre animal abuser, which I dont think he understands. He probably just sees that his income gets reduced, because of Sambos feet and all discussions around her. And he is probably totally unaware how people in other countries  think when they see and hear about his elephant Sambo. He just want her feets to "heal" so she can work again. And he is afraid of loosing his place for an elephant in Wat Phnom. Which i think he should, I agree with Louise that there shall be no more elephants inside Phnom Penh town, considering the poor legal protection for animals, and the low degree of resonsibility taken by animal owners like Sin Sorn.

Before I left I put my hand on his shoulder, looked him deep into his eyes, and I asked to him to please send her to a hospital. He smiled, and said nothing. I could not evaluate his thoughts...
I hope he may consider taking a vise decision, and let Sambo go to to people who can give her an adequate medical threatment.

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