August 5, 2010–Yesterday I shared that Mae Ka Pae, a 22-year old elephant, who stepped on a landmine along the Thai-Burma border, arrived at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Thailand. Below is an update from the Associate Press:
Vets treat elephant land mine victim in Thailand
(AP) – 10 hours ago
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.
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.
The question people keep asking me is: Don’t we have the technology to detect and remove landmines?
To answer simply, Yes, we do have the technology to detect and safely remove landmines; but human Ego keeps countries from making the right choice and protecting their own people and wildlife from these hidden killers.
To date, 37 countries have still refused to sign the Mine Ban Treaty, which requires signatories to de-mine their country and destroy their landmine stockpiles. Myanmar (Burma) is one of the countries who’ve refused to sign the treaty, the United States is another. To view the full list click here.
We cannot let animals and humans suffer because of landmines. We need a film that can crack our collective consciousness and demand all nations sign and enforce the Mine Ban Treaty!
I firmly believe that The Eyes of Thailand is just the film to do this and we can make this dream a reality with your help! You can help by making a tax-deductible donation to the film through our fiscal sponsor, the San Francisco Film Society, so that we can edit and distribute the The Eyes of Thailand in 2011. Click here to donate.
Thank you for your continued support. Together we can tell the world about the plight of the Asian Elephants and the on-going threat of landmines!
Director & Producer, The Eyes of Thailand
“The Eyes of Thailand” is the inspirational story of one woman’s quest to help two elephant landmine survivors–Motala and Baby Mosha–walk on their own four legs. Treating their wounds was only part of the journey; building elephant-sized prostheses was another. Directed and Produced by Windy Borman. Produced by Tim VandeSteeg.