One giant step for jumbo: Amputee elephant fitted with artificial leg

One small step for Motola the elephant, is a giant leap for the world’s injured animals. Motola lost her foot and most of her left leg when she walked over a landmine ten years ago.

One small step for Motola the elephant, is a giant leap for the world’s injured animals. Motola lost her foot and most of her left leg when she walked over a landmine ten years ago.

On Tuesday, she stepped out happily - if a little tentatively - after being fitted with a state-of-the-art artificial limb.

In her first stroll with the prosthesis, 48-year-old Motola walked out of her enclosure for a few minutes, grabbed some dust with her trunk and jubilantly sprayed it in the air.

Motola was injured in 1999 while working at a logging camp on the Thai-Burmese border, a region peppered with landmines after a half century of civil war.

Her job was to move large trees, but one lunch time, her owner let her roam free into a nearby forest and search for food.

She stepped on a landmine and her badly mangled leg had to be amputated.

After various treatments, Motola wore a temporary device for the past three years to strengthen her leg muscles and tendons and to prepare her for the prosthesis, which is permanent.

The operation to fit it used enough anaesthetic to make 70 people unconscious - and is now in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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