LAMPANG – An Asian elephant in Thailand was fitted with a special prosthetic leg after losing the appendage during a land mine accident.
Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation (FAE) shared photos of the elephant, named Mosha, as she was fitted with her new prosthetic.
The procedure was carried out at the world’s first elephant hospital in Mae Yao National Reserve, Lampang, Thailand. The FAE built the medical facility where over 4,200 cases of sick and injured elephants have been treated since 1993.
Mosha was only 7 months old when she stepped on a landmine near the Burmese border.
She is one of more than a dozen elephants who have been wounded by land mines in the border region, where rebels have been fighting the Myanmar government for decades. She was the first elephant to be fitted with a prosthetic limb at the hospital in northern Thailand.
Mosha weighed about 1,300 pounds when she was wounded. Today, she weighs more than 4,000 pounds, and her growth has necessitated frequent upgrades of her artificial leg.
Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, a Thai orthopedist who helped design the prosthetic limbs for elephants, said they could not survive without them.
“When she cannot walk, she is going to die,” he told the Daily Telegraph in Britain in 2009, when Mosha was fitted with a new prosthesis.
This new prosthetic will help to alleviate some of the pressure placed on her spine and other three legs following her injury.
The Thai Elephant Conservation Center estimates that there are 2,000 to 3,000 elephants living in the wild in Thailand and about 2,700 domesticated ones.
In the past, many elephants in Thailand worked in the logging industry, where their agility and strength made them a valuable asset. But the Thai government banned logging in the nation’s forests in 1989, putting them out of work.