Overworked Elephant Dies While Carrying Tourists in Vietnam

Brittany Jones Cooper

A 40-year-old elephant died on the job in Vietnam due to exhaustion. (Photo: Tuoi Tre)

Some tourists got a shocking surprise when the elephant they were riding on in Vietnam died.

According to Tuoitre News, a Vietnamese news site, the 40-year-old male elephant was overworked and collapsed on Sunday while carrying vacationers in the Buon Don District in Dak Lak province.

This isn’t the first time an elephant has passed away on the job. In January, a 36-year-old elephant in the same region died after slipping down a slope. Huynh Trung Luan, the director of the provincial elephant conservation center, said that the elephant slipped after becoming exhausted while working in the forest.

Related: Why Our Travel Company Decided to Stop Elephant Rides

The treatment of elephants has also been making headlines in the U.S. Last week, Ringling Brothers Circus announced that they will phase out their last 13 performing elephants by 2018. When those elephants retire, they will join 29 other pachyderms at the company’s 200-acre Center for Elephant Conservation in central Florida. While this is a big victory for animal activists who say that the animals are mistreated in the circus, many are pushing for the phase out to happen sooner. 

Vietnamese authorities say there are 50 tamed elephants alive in the Dak Lak province, but according to reports, the number of captive elephants in that region is on the decline, due to the animals dying of old age or exhaustion. Reports also say that the animals are not breeding because of a lack of natural environment and working conditions.

The overworked elephant was examined by authorities before it was released to its owner Y Ka Tuk, who conducted an offering ceremony in accordance to local traditions.

WATCH: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home

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