Cambodian elephant tour agency eases beasts' workload

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The owner of a company that provides elephant rides to tourists at Cambodia's fabled Angkor Wat temple complex has reduced the working hours of his beasts after one collapsed and died in the debilitating heat enveloping Southeast Asia.

Angkor Elephant Co. owner Oan Kiri said Tuesday his remaining elephants will work 2 1/2 hours in the morning and about two hours in the late afternoon, an hour less than previously.

He said he decided to reduce their work after a female named Sambo died Friday after carrying some tourists. He said veterinarians blamed the death on stress triggered by the temperature, which has pushed past 38 C (100 F) in recent days.

The elephant's death triggered an outpouring of grief and criticism on social media in Cambodia.