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Art & Design

Written by Mies van den Biggelaar

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Elephant wounded by land mine gets prosthetic leg

Usually I try not to get my articles influenced by my opinion and preferences too much, but if you have been reading more of my articles, you might have noticed my interest for prosthetics. Today’s post is going to be even more out of the box - we're leaving human anatomy and the boundaries of art and design behind us for a few minutes. Today’s subject: Mosha the elephant with a prosthetic leg.

Only at 7 months old, a landmine near Thailand’s northern border with Myanmar made Mosha lose her front leg. Two years later, surgeon Therdchai Jivacate met her, and together with the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation, he created the first ever prosthetic leg for an elephant. A process full of trial and error, still adjusting new legs to Mosha’s growing size and weight.

Even though Therchai Jivacate had already made over 20,000 prosthetic legs for humans as well as for smaller animals (eg. dogs, cats and birds), constructing a prosthetic leg for an elephant was a new challenge. After an extensive process, the final design consisted of a thermoplastic, steel and elastomer limb. Mosha learned to walk on it in just 12 hours. 

As Jicavate says: “I think she knows that I make her prosthetic legs, each time I come to the elephant hospital she makes a little salute by raising her trunk in the air.

Visit Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation’s website here!

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Tags: Prosthetics, Prosthetic legs, Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation , Elephant

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