The donation of two young elephants from Laos to Cambodia demonstrates the solidarity of the two neighbouring countries, said Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dith Tina during the official handover ceremony, which was attended by his Laos counterpart Linkham Douangsavanh.

Two three-year-old pachyderms, one male and one female, were presented as gifts to King Norodom Sihamoni in a ceremony at Phnom Tamao Zoological Park on May 12. 

“Minister Dith Tina said that the gift of the pair of elephants is profoundly meaningful for both countries. The presence of high-level delegations from both countries shows the close friendship and excellent cooperation between the two neighbours,” said a same-day social media post by the agriculture ministry.

Tina believed that the gift would solidify the friendship of the two countries and bring cooperation on wildlife protection closer.

Tina noted that elephants are carved into the walls of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple.

The two three-year-old elephants which were presented to King Norodom Sihamoni as a gift from the people of Laos. The female of the pair is named Rumduol. She arrived at the Phnom Tamao Zoological Park with her male companion Champa on May 12. Agriculture Ministry

He explained that in ancient times, Cambodian ancestors from the Khmer Empire used the animals as a means of transport, as well as to wage war.

He added that the unique creatures are now under threat, necessitating the need for their conservation and protection.

Im Rachna, a spokeswoman for the environment ministry, said it was estimated that Cambodia is currently home to approximately 400–600 wild elephants and 75 domesticated ones.

According to the ministry, Lao head of state Thongloun Sisoulith announced the donation of the elephants to King Norodom Sihamoni during his state visit to Cambodia on April 23-24. The presentation of the two animals was intended to demonstrate the solidarity between the two nations.