Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Support Sombo on Facebook

Sambo has a Facebook page, Support Sombo, where Mr Vansoeun Song, the son of Sambos owner Sin Sorn is active, and answering questions.
Mr Song is currently living in UT, USA, but follows the discussions about his fathers elephant on distance. He is against to that Sambo is brought to Phnom Tamao Wildlife rescue Center, and says that he will "find the place for her to be cure around the side of the city, and that it gonna be private place, not related to goverment." He also says that:" she is my family she had human brain now not an animal anymore and i strongly believe, she will stay with us longer than that. and be friend with everybody." and "agreed she is suffering. she need medical care", and that "sombo will be at rest soon and will not be brought back to Wat Phnom while she get treated till she is heal."

But on his Facebook page Vansoeun wrote in July, under a picture with Sambo at Wat Phnom; Cool, ride everybody, and he uploaded a sign at Wat Phnom, promoting people to ride Sambo, bewteen 7.30am and 4pm, 7 days a week.

Vansoeun Song does not comment why the international efforts and help from EARS elephant foundation was declined by Sambo's owner. The vet clearly stated Sambo must stop working immediately. This was ignored and 2 days later Sambo was back at work in severe pain being forced to carry tourists around Wat Phnom. 

On thie Facebook page Support Sambo, now and then its not clear if the support is meant for the suffering elephant Sambo, or for her owner, who put her in this misearable situation. But at least here it is possible to follow a dialogue where the owners son is involved. And Vansoeun seems to be like his father, a friendly and polite person.

I wrote a personal message to Vansoeun as follows: Please Vansoen, pododermatitis, osteitis, ostoelysis, deep sepsis and other lesions, what can your father do? You really think any intelligent person believe he love her, when he force her walk 4 km and stand on a place where her pain make her lift her leg all day, you relly think this is love? And then spray a little violet spray on her swollen feet and wonder why everyone angry? your father is killing his elephant, and of course people are damn angry. try to convince him to do the right thing, maybe you can speak with him? He can still save his face and your families honor. And Im happy to help, him and Sambo, if he takes a good decision.
-Enough is enough? The world is watching your father killing an elephant, do something, please!.

Vansouen replied today: "Dan,i knew my family couldn't do anything to help Sombo", and then he went into his family´s economy, ending with the question how long it will take to heal her? I replied that she will probably never heal, but; She will probably be permanently handicapped until she dies, and only educated people can help her a little bit. Her medicines will cost a lot, but theres already a budget of $ 600 dollars/month to cover costs. This will however never be given as long as shes taken care of by her father, I think.

Sinsorn and Sambo with the new donation box.
December discussions indicate that Sin Sorns plans are to "retire" Sambo at her present night shelter close to the Australian Embassy, and "Sin Sorn proposes to bring a younger female elephant to the city to keep Sombo company and to continue Sombo's work of giving rides to people."

A public donation box has been put up at Wat Phnom, and it says the money will go to medicine and food for Sambo, and that her owner has the key. 

No guarantees are given how the money will be spent, although the sign says they are for medicines and expencies. 

In case of retirement, her medicine costs would be covered by EARS Asia, and then there would be a guarantee for a proper medicination, not just putting bluespray on Sambos feet...

On the "Support Sambo" Facebook page is also stated that Sambos owner, Mr. Sin Sorn want to be payed $ 1500.00/month not to work her. This gives no guarrantee for medical costs covered, it is considered a private compensation to him and his family, for not having an income from Sambo.

Sophib in Siem Reap
SinSorn also has an income of renting out at least three other elephants,  2 in Mondulkirir, and Sophib in Siem Reap, where she is used as riding elephant at Angkor Wat.

 My personal view of the latest weeks visit to Sambo, and discussions with Vansoeun Song:

  • Sin Sorns family have limited medical knowledge and competence of elephants, and will probably never bother to invest what is need to take care of elephants professionably. 
  • Although they receieved all veterinary reports, the reports has not been understood, and the information has not been assimilated, or they simply dont care.
  • They are not evil, they simply just make their economy a priority, and they lack a normal proffessional responsability for their animals.
  • Instead of realizing Sambos medical need, the word love, is repated over and over again.
  • Any future funding of Sambo, as long as she is with Sin Sorn, will probably find its way to his and his families pockets.
  • They will never be able to provide even a basic medical care for Sambo.
  • The idea of bringing more of Sin Sorns elephants to Phnom Penh, is a threat to their health.
  • It seems that Mr Sin Sorn is highly reluctant to let Sambo get a proper medical threatment.
  • It has to be remembered, that no other elephant owner let their elephants stay on the stone pavement at Wat Phnom, therefore Sambos suffering is directly linked to Mr Sin Sorn, who has destroyed this elephants health, because of greed.
  • swollen feet, wounds from the srtripes, both feet curved/screwed
  • Because of the above stated arguments, there seem to be a need have Sambo confiscated.
  • To guarantee a future health of Sin Sorns other elephants, it may be a need to confiscate them also. 
  • The consequence of this is, that since Mr Sin Sorn and his family does not take resonsibility for Sambo, the Phnom Penh officials has to step in, and privdie that this elephant gets help.

Theres presently two places in Cambodia, that can take care of Sambo, the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center outside Phnom Penh, and the Elephant Valley Sanctuary, run by Mr Jack Highwood, in Sen Moronom, Mondulkiri Province, in eastern Cambodia.

Anyhow, I think its good if the  Support Sombo Facebook page gets more visitors and comments, hopefully balanced, polite and correct, but consistent in their message.  Visit Support Sombo!

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