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Elephant fitted for artificial leg

August 16, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

An elephant who stepped on a land mine 10 years ago was fitted for a permanent artificial leg.

Motola became a symbol of the plight of today's elephants, and her injury has sparked international sympathy and donations. Experts in Thailand were making a cast of the 48-year-old pachyderm's injured left front leg for a plastic prosthetic limb.

"I do hope she will accept the new leg. It would be wonderful to see Motola and Baby Mosha walking together side by side," said Soraida Salwala of the Friends of the Asian Elephant group.

Mosha, also a land mine victim, became the first elephant with an artificial leg, attached in 2007. Soraida said 3-year-old Mosha is faring well and has outgrown three of her prosthetic devices.

Motola was injured in 1999 while working at a logging camp along the Myanmar-Thailand border. Her mangled foot was amputated, and she hobbled on three feet until she was fitted with a temporary, canvas shoe-like device two years later. Motola's initial operation used enough anesthetic to floor 70 people, a record noted in the 2000 Guinness Book of World Records.

Soraida said Motola has otherwise been in fine health.

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