Mosha, a young elephant, was only seven months old when she tragically lost her front leg to a landmine near the Thailand-Myanmar border.
Surgeon Therdchai Jivacate encountered Mosha two years later and partnered with the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation hospital to develop the world’s first prosthetic leg for an elephant.
Over the years, Jivacate has fitted Mosha with nine different artificial legs, adapting to her increasing size and weight.
Watch the video at the end.
Now at ten years old and weighing around 4,400 pounds, Mosha recently received her latest prosthetic limb.
Throughout his career, Jivacate has created over 20,000 prosthetic legs for humans and various animals, including dogs, cats, and birds.
As a pioneer in his field, he established the Prostheses Foundation in 1992 to offer free prosthetic limbs to underprivileged amputees.
Jivacate is renowned for developing methods that enable the production of affordable, high-quality prosthetics using locally sourced materials.
However, crafting a prosthetic leg for an elephant presented a unique challenge for the accomplished surgeon.
Driven by compassion, Jivacate was determined to help Mosha, recognizing the debilitating consequences of her injury.
He noted that her unbalanced walk could cause severe cartilage damage, rendering her immobile and ultimately leading to her death.
Through a rigorous process of trial and error, Jivacate constructed the initial prosthetic leg using a combination of thermoplastic, steel, and elastomer materials.
This design provided Mosha comfort and support while allowing her to move fluidly. Remarkably, she learned to walk with her artificial leg in 12 hours.
Due to her rapid growth, Mosha required three new prosthetic legs within her first year.
Jivacate and his team remain dedicated to discovering more advanced materials for constructing the ideal prosthetic leg that can withstand the weight of Mosha and other elephants.
In the meantime, he is grateful to have helped Mosha regain her ability to walk. He told Motherboard, “Animals don’t ask that we make legs for them, but we wanted to give Mosha one.
I think she knows that I make her prosthetic legs, as each time I come to the elephant hospital, she makes a little salute by raising her trunk in the air.”
Watch the video below:
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