August 18, 2010–Below is an excerpt from Kevin James Moore’s August 9th article on the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) Elephant Hospital and the on-going threat of landmines:
Mosha was walking alongside her mother through the jungles that cover the Thailand-Myanmar border when she stepped on a landmine that would leave her forever maimed.At seven-months old Mosha, an Asian Elephant, had her right front leg destroyed by a buried explosive. Now at five-years old, with the aid of a prosthetic limb, she is walking on all four legs once again.
Mosha resides at the Friends of the Asian Elephant (FAE) hospital along with Motala, a 49-year old elephant and landmine survivor who also received a prosthetic limb ten years after an ill-fated step in 1999 that deprived her of a front limb as well. Founded in 1993 as the world’s first Asian Elephant hospital by Soraida Salwala, FAE has helped these two elephants walk again with the use of prostheses.
To watch Mosha and Motala walk again overwhelmed Salwala. “I was more than happy and tears filled my eyes,” she said. The tears she shed were from joy, “I was speechless and my heart beamed.”
The story of Mosha and Motala has inspired San Francisco, California documentary filmmaker Windy Borman to direct and film “The Eyes of Thailand,” a film she hopes will educate people and cause them to take action to protect the Asian Elephant. There were 40,000 Asian Elephants in 1993 and now there are less than 3,00, said Borman. She is trying to help Salwala in her quest to save the animal that she loves.
“I consider myself a pretty worldly person, but I had no idea elephants were stepping on landmines, especially an endangered species,” explained Borman. “I knew I had to tell other people about it.”
Director/Producer, The Eyes of Thailand