Last of the elephant riders. In Cambodia, amidst exotic wildlife and temple ruins, hill tribes still tame and work with elephants. But for how long?

A mahout pauses for a smoke. Once used for heavy lifting in the jungle, now most elephants haul tourists.
A mahout pauses for a smoke. Once used for heavy lifting in the jungle, now most elephants haul tourists.

2011-09-26 - Banlung, Cambodia
It´s early in the morning and my motorbike guide is driving me two hours northeast from Ban Lung, the capital of Ratanakiri, toward the Vietnamese border. My quest is to find the last of Cambodia´s elephant riders.These indigenous highlanders have captured, tamed and worked with wild elephants for 2,000 years, but their traditional ways and the elephants at the heart of their culture are quickly disappearing. From an estimated wild population of around 500 elephants in this area in ...

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