Mae Ka Pae, Elephant Injured By Land Mine, Treated By Vets (PHOTOS)
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(AP) LAMPANG, Thailand - Veterinarians were treating the latest land mine victim from the Thai-Myanmar border Thursday, a 22-year-old female elephant whose foot was severely wounded by the explosion. (Scroll down for photos).
Mae Ka Pae, as she is called, is the 13th mine casualty to be treated at the innovative Friends of Asian Elephant hospital near this city in northern Thailand since it began operating in 1993. She arrived at the facility Wednesday evening, a week after the accident, which shredded the sole of her left rear foot.
"We have to monitor her condition for 48 hours now that we cleaned the wound and injected pain killers. We will give her a tetanus shot later today. Overall, she is a good condition. She is obedient and can eat normally," said Dr. Preecha Phuangkam, a veterinarian and the hospital director.
The elephant was injured at the frontier, which is strewn with land mines from fighting between the Myanmar government and ethnic minority rebels. Preecha said her handlers might have let her wander to the less-developed Myanmar side of the border to find food.
She joins two other elephants, Motala and Mosha, who remain hospitalized but have recovered well enough to wear prosthetic legs. Mosha became the world's first elephant with an artificial leg, attached in 2007.
Traditionally the truck, taxi and logging worker of Thailand, the elephant has lost most of its jobs to modernization. However, the tourism industry still employs large numbers of elephants for trekking and other activities. Some, including a number along the Myanmar border, are still used in illegal logging operations.