Chamroeun is the oldest of our four elephants at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. She was born in the wild and lived with her herd in Ream National Park, a small national park bordering the coastline.

When the tide was low, it exposed some rocky outcrops along the coastline containing vegetation. One day, Chamroeun decided to forage on one of these rocky outcrops. Distracted by the delicious food, she failed to notice the tide coming back in.

By the time she realized the tide was high, she was separated from her herd and all the food was gone. She became distressed and thought she was stuck. Despite the fact that elephants can swim, she was unable to get off the rocky outcrop.

Some concerned individuals who had spotted Chamroeun stranded could tell she was anxious, so they contacted Wildlife Alliance to ask if we could offer her assistance and guidance. When our rescue team director drove down, it wasn’t long until the tide was out. However, to keep Chamroeun calm until then, he hand-fed her.

Later, leading her back onto the mainland and suspecting her herd would not have moved off too far without her, the director left, thinking Chamroeun would manage to reunite with her heard on her own accord.

However, some people had observed how gentle Chamroeun was and the community continued feeding her. This was a pleasant surprise for Chamroeun so she never bothered to move off in search of her herd and stuck around for the free food.

The problem was, adult elephants need roughly 150kgs of vegetation every day to survive, and these individuals would only offer Chamroeun snacks in comparison, so she started raiding their crops for more food. These families needed those crops to survive, so they quickly came into conflict.

This situation not only posed a threat to the local community’s livelihood but also compromised Chamroeun’s health and natural behavior, underlining the importance of maintaining the natural diet and habitat of rescued wildlife.

STAY TUNED FOR WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. In the meantime, we encourage you to consider supporting our efforts at the Wildlife Rescue Center. Your contribution can make a significant difference in the lives of animals like Chamroeun, helping us provide them with the care and support they need.