Mosha the three-legged elephant gets a new prosthetic leg

By Petrus Malherbe
07 July 2016

Mosha stood on a landmine when she was seven months old and lost one of her leg.

Mosha, a 10-year-old elephant living in Thailand, stood on a landmine when she was seven months old and lost one of her legs.

But the loving elephant recently received her ninth prosthetic leg, thanks to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation hospital.

Mosha lost her leg near Thailand’s border with Myanmar. She is one of about 12 elephants that have been injured in the area.

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Because Mosha grew and put on weight so fast it was necessary to adapt her prosthetic leg regularly. According to the Reuters news agency she weighed 600 kg when she was injured 10 years ago; today she weighs 2 000 kg.

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Professor Therdchai Jivacate, an orthopaedic surgeon who helps develop prosthetics for elephants, has developed larger, stronger legs for her as she's grown.

"The way she walked was unbalanced and her spine was going to bend. This would have damaged her cartilage and she would eventually have stopped walking. She would have died,” he says.

Mosha is a permanent resident at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, where she has a keeper all to herself.

Palahdee, who is also studying monkhood, has been caring for Mosha since she was just two years old, according to the charity organisation's website.

"Despite her hardships and trials, knows her to be as sweet and loving as ever," Mosha's page reads. "Mosha is extremely attached to Palahdee – he can’t even take lunch without her crying for him!"

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Palahdee’s main job is to make Mosha feel as comfortable as possible.

"He knows how much Mosha loves taking naps on her cushioned mats, so he ensures that they are clean and laid out flat for her. He also fits and adjusts her old prosthetic leg as much as possible to relieve some of the stress in her spine."

Motolo, another patient in the hospital, also received a prosthesis at the same time as Mosha. She lost one of her feet in the border area in 1999.

Sources: Buzzfeed, Reuters, New York Times

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