Elephant Onto Ninth Prosthetic Leg After Stepping on Landmine as Baby
Mosha, an Asian elephant, received another prosthetic leg at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation (FAE) hospital on June 29. She was just 7 months old when she lost a front leg from stepping on a landmine near Thailand’s border a decade ago.
This is Mosha’s ninth artificial limb, mostly due to a tremendous growth spurt that meant her walk became unbalanced.
“Her spine was going to bend,” surgeon Therdchai Jivacate told Reuters, according to the Facebook post. “That means she would have hurt her cartilages badly and eventually stopped walking. And she would have died because of that.”
When Mosha was first injured, she weighed about 1,300 pounds. Now, she tips the scales at more than 4,400 pounds.
Mosha is the first elephant to have received a functional prosthetic leg, the FAE said. Fellow FAE hospital resident, Motola, is the second.
She, too, lost a front leg to a landmine on the same Thai–Burma border in 1999.
The Thai–Myanmar border is still littered with landmines, so FAE recently added a prosthesis factory to its facility. The website said its goal is make the process more affordable and efficient.
FAE was founded in 1993, and it is the world’s first elephant hospital. It has 17 patients to date. “Over 4,200 cases of sick & injured elephants treated since 1993,” FAE wrote on its Facebook page.
According to Thai Elephant Conservation Center, there are roughly 2,000 to 3,000 elephants living in the wild in Thailand and some 2,700 domesticated ones.