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Motala walking

Landmine-injured Thai elephant now walking: doctors

AFP, Bangkok, 18 August 2000.   A Thai elephant, which drew sympathy
worldwide after stepping on a landmine at the border with
Myanmar a year ago is able to walk again, doctors said Friday.

The elephant, Motala, is "in satisfactory general condition, almost returned
to  normal," said veterinarian Preecha Puangkhan, a specialist at an
elephant hospital in northern Lampang province.

Motala was walking effectively again, although she remains in the care of
the hospital, he said.

Preecha, who led a team of surgeons in performing a three-hour surgery on
Motala's right fore leg last year, said the tusker's wound is 80 percent 
and the infection in the leg is signficantly reduced.

The surgeons had warned the three-tonne tusker might struggle to walk properly

Motala was hauling logs in August 1999 about 10 kilometers (six miles) inside
Myanmar opposite Thailand's northwestern Mae Sot district when it stepped
on a mine after being released by the Thai owner to forage for food.

Thais, who revere elephants as a national symbol, monitored the progress
through regular televised medical reports and contributed more than four
llion baht (105,000 dollars) for treatment despite the country's worst
recession on record.

[and just in case some people do not know the Burma landmine website:
http://www.igc.org/nonviolence/burmamines/index.html  -- DA]