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Page last updated at 06:39 GMT, Sunday, 16 August 2009 07:39 UK

Thai elephant gets artificial leg

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Motola limbers up with her new leg

A 48-year-old Thai elephant has been fitted with an permanent artificial leg, 10 years after losing a limb from treading on a land mine.

Motola was measured up at an elephant hospital on Saturday before experts made the leg and fitted it on Sunday.

The elephant had been walking with the help of a temporary artificial leg made of canvas, the Associated Press news agency reports.

A much younger elephant at the same hospital already has a false leg.

Motola was injured in 1999 while working at a logging camp along the Thai-Burmese border. Her front left foot was so badly damaged it had to be amputated.

Her permanent leg was made by the Prostheses Foundation.

Motola and a three-year-old elephant, Mosha, have both been cared for by an elephant hospital run by the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE).

Mosha, who is three, lost part of her right front leg as a seven-month-old. Because Mosha is growing fast, she has already outgrown three of her prosthetic limbs.

Thailand's borders with Burma and Cambodia are littered with unexploded landmines, the result of decades of conflict.

The FAE says many elephants, often domesticated ones used in the logging trade, are injured by mines every year as they work in remote forests close to the borders.



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