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Sunday, August 29, 1999 Published at 09:19 GMT 10:19 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Picture gallery: Jumbo's op ends well

Vets in Thailand have described as successful a mammoth operation to save the leg of Motala, a log-hauling elephant which trod on a landmine.

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They said the 38-year-old cow elephant finally woke up on Sunday morning after her anaesthetic - enough to knock out dozens of humans - had worn off.

The operation, which took more than three hours, was the first of its kind in Thailand.

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Five surgeons were assisted by a medical team, a hydraulic crane, 20 Thai soldiers and a firetruck.

They decided not to amputate part of Motala's leg, but instead carried out delicate repairs to infected tissue.

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Her injured left leg will be a few centimetres shorter than her others.

Surgeons may eventually fit a prosthesis when the wound has healed.

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Thai television has been releasing regular updates on the health of Motala, and public donations for her treatment have exceeded $100,000.

Television cameras captured tears streaking down her face before heavy doses of painkillers took effect.

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Motala trod on a landmine while foraging for food during a work break several kilometres inside the Burmese border.

She had to trek for three days through the jungle to make it back to Thailand, before being taken by truck to the hospital for treatment.

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Vets at the pachyderm clinic, which treats elephants for everything from snake bites to broken limbs, had never seen wounds so bad.

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