Chhouk the elephant has been given a new prosthetic leg by a charity (Picture: Caters)

These heartwarming pictures show an elephant, who lost his leg in a poacher’s snare, enjoying life again after being fitted with a new prosthetic leg.

Chhouk the elephant has enjoyed a remarkable change in fortune since being found in 2007 by wildlife charity workers.

He was severely malnourished and with a gravely infected wound.

Nick Marx from Wildlife Alliance Rescue and Care nursed the then one-year-old elephant back to health for two weeks in a Cambodian jungle while it was tethered to a rope.

Now a decade later, Chhouk is sporting a prosthetic leg to help him walk from the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics.

According to rescuers, the elephant loves the foot so much he gets angry if he isn’t wearing it.

The elephant now gets angry when he can’t wear his prosthetic leg (Picture: Caters)
Chhouk when he was found with a gravely infected wound in a Cambodian jungle (Picture: Caters)

Nick said: ‘He is now uncomfortable without it.

‘He gets angry if he cannot wear it.

‘If he gets a sore on his stump, which happens now and again due to friction or dirt getting inside the shoe, and he cannot wear the prosthesis, he gets irritable.’

Chhouk is let out of his night stall each morning and throughout the day and regularly fed leaves, branches, cane tips, bananas, grass, or coconuts.

He was ‘running around his stall in minutes’ after recently getting a new model prosthetic leg.

Nick said: ‘He is the first elephant in Cambodia to receive a prosthesis and is celebrated as a successful rescue story.

‘Our elephant keepers have trained Chhouk using only reward based positive reinforcement in order to effectively change his prosthetic leg.

‘He will not be fed until his shoe has been changed as we need him to be a little hungry for him to do as we require.

‘He spends his day with Lucky (another elephant) in his large outside enclosure.

‘In the evening his damaged leg is inspected again, the shoe changed and he is inside for the night for his own safety.’

Chhouk will be only fed after his shoe is changed (Picture: Caters)
The elephant was close to death but survived the ordeal (Picture: Caters)
Chhouk takes a dip in the pool with his friend Lucy (Picture: Caters)

When Nick found the elephant he was close to death in a poacher’s snare, a wire trap that is tied to trees to capture animals by the neck or legs.

He added: ‘I rescued him in March 2007 and he was probably around one-and-half years old then.

‘He was in a bad way and seemed sure to die.

‘He was badly injured and so very thin.

‘It seemed only his fighting spirit was keeping him upright.

‘The WWF team had captured Chhouk, meaning Lotus, named after their patrol station and had tethered him around the neck to a tree – a sensible decision to stop him wandering off.’

Nick Marx of Wildlife Alliance Rescue and Care nursed the elephant back to health (Picture: Caters)
Chhouk is named after lotus in Cambodian (Picture: Caters)

Chhouk was sedated, treated and his injured leg bandaged before being transported to Phnom Tamao through a treacherous track out of the forest.

After a day of travelling, Chhouk was lifted into the elephant house of Wildlife Alliance Rescue and Care.

He had lost the bottom part of his leg to a snare because the constriction had cut off the blood sufficiently to kill the flesh below.

Nick said: ‘We sedated him each week, his wound was cleaned, small fragments of bone and damaged tissue were removed and the leg was re-bandaged.

‘The healing powers of wild animals can be amazing.’


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