In a major win for animal rights, Cambodia is changing its policy on elephant rides at Angkor Archaeological Park. The temple complex located in the northern province of Siem Reap previously had 14 elephants on the premises available for guests to ride. Now, two of those elephants have been relocated to the Bos Thom community forest, with the remaining 12 scheduled to do the same by early 2020.

Local residents are supportive of the new measure. Ly Huoch, a resident of Siem Reap province, has watched elephants transport tourists for years and believes they deserve better treatment. “I support the decision to transfer them,” he told The Khmer Times, “because the elephants are working so hard and should be free. I feel sorry for the elephants”

Treatment of elephants at Angkor Archaeological Park has been under scrutiny since 2016, when an elephant named Sambo died at the temple from heatstroke and exhaustion caused by carrying so many tourists on her back.