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Chien-Chi Chang
Land Mine Victim, Lampang, Thailand 1999

Motala, a cow elephant whose left foreleg was severely damaged after she stepped on a landmine, waits for her operation.

A team of 30 veterinarians spent over three hours operating on the injured leg of Motala, a 3-ton cow elephant that stepped on a landmine on the Thai-Burma border. The operation involved cutting away 30 centimeters of shattered bone and flesh from her foreleg. Her veterinarians hope to fit her with a prosthetic device once the wound heals. After playing a significant role in Thailand's history and economy for centuries, elephants, revered as a national symbol, are under threat from all sides. In an effort to save scores of injured elephants, all too often victims of overwork, drugging, and other abuses committed by clandestine forest workers, a Lampang elephant hospital was opened in 1994 by the Thai government and Friends of the Asian Elephant. The Elephant Hospital is one of many projects that Friends of the Asian Elephant is working on. They provide rescue, rehabilitation, and treatment for elephants that are neglected, maltreated, ill, disabled, and seriously injured. They try to assist elephants in eventually returning to live in their natural habitat.

 
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