Meet Mosha, the elephant with a prosthetic leg

Submitted by Naturenomics Team on Tue, 26/03/2019 - 12:45

Prosthetic limbs aren't just for people. They can be for elephants, too.

Meet Mosha the elephant. She has been given a second shot at mobility with the help of a prosthetic leg. 

The three-legged elephant is a resident of the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation hospital in Lampang province in northern Thailand. According to Today, she lost her leg to a land mine near Thailand's border when she was seven months old, which was over a decade ago. 

As she grew, it became increasingly difficult for her to remain mobile while living with three limbs. Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, a Thai orthopedist, designed her first prosthetic limb when she was two-and-a-half years old. As of today, Mosha is on her ninth prosthetic leg. As she has grown, Dr. Therdchai has designed new, longer and stronger legs for her.

"The way she walked was unbalanced and her spine was going to bend," Dr. Therdchai, 72, told Reuters. "That means she would have hurt her cartilages badly and eventually stopped walking. And she would have died because of that."

When Mosha was wounded, she weighed about 1,300 pounds. Today, she weighs more than 4,000 pounds. 

The New York Times reports that Mosha is one of more than a dozen elephants who have been wounded by land mines in the Thai border region, where rebels have been fighting the Myanmar government for decades. She was the first elephant to receive a prosthetic limb at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation hospital, which now has 17 patients. 

The Thai Elephant Conversation Center estimates that there are 2,000 to 3,000 elephants living in the wild in Thailand and about 2,700 domesticated ones.

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