Mosha was rescued when she was seven-months-old and brought to the Friends of the Asian Elephant hospital where she became the first elephant in the world to be fitted with an artificial leg in 2007.
Her home in the tropical jungle of northern Thailand, near the Cambodian border, is an orphanage for elephants. Stumbling around on three limbs at the world’s first elephant hospital, she refused to mix with other elephants. Doctors had feared the worst until she had a chance meeting with Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, who runs a foundation for human amputees.
Jivacate knew that Mosha would not survive, as she grew heavier with age. “When she cannot walk, she is going to die,” he said.
Jivacate’s foundation has made prosthetic limbs for over 16,000 humans. But it had never fitted an elephant until Mosha caught Jivacate’s eye. Fashioned out of plastic, sawdust and metal, doctors at his Prostheses Foundation successfully fitted an artificial leg for Mosha sturdy enough to carry her weight. One of many patients treated at the unique £1m animal hospital, with fellow elephants suffering infections, broken bones and knife wounds, Mosha soon became the most famous.
Almost a year after her operation, Mosha eats 200 pounds of food a day and is growing so fast that doctors recently fitted her with a second, larger prosthesis. The prosthesis is only removed when she sleeps.