Elephant amputee gets permanent prosthetic leg

A 48-year-old elephant from Thailand accidentally stepped on a land mine left over from the Burmese-Thai war. Now, 10 years later, she has a state-of-the-art prothesis.

Motala walks on her new leg over the weekend. Friends of the Asian Elephant

One of the best things about this job is getting to share stories that are often totally friggin' awesome. This is one of those stories.

It doesn't start happily, though. Motala is a 48-year old former working elephant from Thailand (she moved large trees for a living). In 1999, while wandering in the forest looking for food on her lunch break, she accidentally stepped on a land mine left over from the Burmese-Thai war. The mine destroyed her left front foot and most of the leg.

Though her owners tried to save the leg, it was eventually amputated below the knee. In 2006, she got a temporary prothesis to help her learn to walk on what would be a more permanent artificial leg.

This week, Motala was fitted for that leg in Thailand, according to the conservation group Friends of the Asian Elephant. It's a state-of-the-art upgrade to the temporary prothesis she's had for the last three years. Early reports show she's taking to it well, which is fantastic (watch the video after the jump). Here's hoping Motala lives a normal, long life in her retirement.

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