Mosha the elephant lost her leg when she was just seven months old due to a landmine blast at the Myanmar-Thailand border.
That was over a decade ago and this week she received her 9th prosthetic leg thanks to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation hospital in northern Thailand.
Mosha is more than one in a dozen elephants who have been wounded by landmines in the border region where rebels have been fighting the Myanmar government for decades.
However, Mosha was the first to be fitted with a new leg at the hospital near Lampang.
Mosha weighed about 1,300 pounds when she was wounded. Today, she weighs more than 4,000 pounds, and her growth has necessitated frequent upgrades of her artificial leg.
Motala is another resident at the hospital and lost a front leg to a landmine in the same area way back in 1999 – she is now more than 50-years-old.
Dr. Therdchai Jivacate, a Thai orthopedist who helped design prosthetic limbs for the elephants, said they could not survive without them.
“When she cannot walk, she is going to die,” he told The Daily Telegraph in 2009, when Mosha was fitted with a new prosthesis.
When Mosha received her newest artificial limb last week, he said: “The way she walked was unbalanced, and her spine was going to bend. That means she would have hurt her cartilages badly and eventually stopped walking. And she would have died because of that.”
The Thai Elephant Conservation Centre estimates there are 2,000 to 3,000 elephants living in the wild in Thailand and about 2,700 domesticated ones.
In the past, many elephants in Thailand worked in the logging industry, where their agility and strength made them a valuable asset.
But the Thai government banned logging in the nation’s forests in 1989, putting them out of work.