In the world of elephants, everything is larger than life. From their massive size to their incredible strength, these majestic creatures never cease to amaze us. But when tragedy strikes, it takes a special kind of care to help them get back on their feet – or in this case, foot.
Meet Chhouk, an 11-year-old Asian elephant living at the Wildlife Alliance conservation organization in Cambodia.
Chhouk had his foot amputated after it was caught in a poacher’s snare, leaving him unable to walk without difficulty. But thanks to the tireless efforts of a team of dedicated veterinarians and conservationists, Chhouk was given a new lease on life.
With funding from the Paradise Wildlife Park in the UK, Chhouk was fitted with a prosthetic foot made from recycled car tires and tow truck strapping. And every six months, he receives a new prosthetic, allowing him to walk, swim, and even run with ease.
But it’s not just the prosthetic that makes all the difference – it’s the care and attention that Chhouk receives from his keepers. Cam Whitnall, who runs the Paradise Wildlife Park and Big Cat Sanctuary with his family, says that the level of care that Chhouk receives is exceptional.
“Because he’s still growing, it needs replacing often and we’ve been sending payments to cover that. They’re made out of recycled rubber and some Velcro to tie it up,” he said. “They weigh about 20kg (44 pounds) and we actually got them to send one over and it’s sitting in my office currently.”
Recently, Cam had the opportunity to visit Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia and witness firsthand the incredible work being done to help Chhouk. The keepers use a special contraption to isolate his leg so they can attach the prosthetic, and Chhouk even helps out by lifting his foot as if he were putting on a shoe.
But the best part? Chhouk is rewarded with a big juicy coconut at the end of the process. It’s moments like these that remind us of the incredible bond between humans and animals, and the power of compassion to make a difference in the world.