A life-changing moment for Motola the elephant and a significant advancement for injured animals worldwide.
Ten years after losing her foot and most of her left leg to a landmine, Motola took a confident step forward with her newly-fitted, state-of-the-art prosthetic limb.
Leg up: Motala, 48, has been fitted with a prosthetic limb after a landmine blew off her leg. Source: Daily Mail
The 48-year-old elephant embraced her first walk with the artificial leg, cautiously stepping out of her enclosure, using her trunk to toss dust in the air playfully.
Soraida Salwala, the founder of the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation in Thailand, expressed satisfaction with Motola’s progress, noting that she had already walked around twice. Although not yet bearing her whole weight on the prosthetic, Motola is adjusting well.
Easy does it: Elephant keepers help fit the artificial leg for Motola, who became a symbol of the plight of today’s elephants. Source: Daily Mail
The devastating accident occurred in 1999 when Motola was working at a logging camp near the Thai-Burmese border, an area littered with landmines due to decades of civil war.
When her owner let her forage for food in a nearby forest, she inadvertently stepped on a landmine, leading to the amputation of her severely damaged leg.
Over the past three years, Motola has been using a temporary device to strengthen her leg muscles and tendons in preparation for her permanent prosthesis.
Finishing touches: Members of the Prostheses Foundation adjust the leg so that it fits the elephant exactly. Source: Daily Mail
The fitting procedure utilized enough anesthesia to render 70 people unconscious and earned a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Prostheses Foundation, known for creating artificial limbs for human amputees, crafted Motola’s new leg.
Her treatment occurred at the world’s first Elephant Hospital in northern Thailand, established by Soraida in 1993.
Comfort: Solaida Salvala, the founder of Friends of the Asian Elephant group, consoles Motola before the fitting at the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, northern Thailand. Source: Daily Mail
The facility has cared for thousands of elephants suffering from various ailments, including eye infections and gunshot wounds.
Wild and domestic elephant populations have faced drastic declines due to modernization. While the number of elephants used in industries such as transportation and logging has dropped from 13,400 in 1950 to 2,500 today, the only expanding sector is tourism, where elephants are utilized for trekking.
Success: Motola splashes dust in the air after walking out of an enclosure with her newly-fitted artificial leg. Source: Daily Mail
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