In 2007, a young abandoned elephant was found wondering in the Cambodian wilderness, the apparent victim of poachers. Not only was he starving, but the elephant, who came to be named Chhouk, was missing his left front foot. The most likely scenario is it had been caught in a snare trap.
Taken to a wildlife rescue center, Chhouk was provided veterinary care, appropriate nutrition and fitted for a prosthetic foot. As the video indicates, Chhouk started to walk quickly the first time he donned his prosthesis.
I can only imagine what he must have felt to have proper balance and ambulation capability once again. Since he is so young, Chhouk will need a new prosthetic foot every year until he is fully grown. Elephant males are considered adults by the time they reach 20 years of age.
To date, Chhouk has had four prostheses made for him. He will no doubt continue to thrive in the loving environment he now calls home.
Elephant poaching is a cruel practice where humans hunt wild elephants for their ivory tusks and other body parts to sell on the black market. Many poachers set snare traps to catch elephants.
Elephants in Crisis.org is one group that is working to help end elephant exploitation, slavery and poaching. Their website states that elephants could be extinct by the year 2020 if poaching continues at today’s rate of about 4,000 elephants per year. The desire for jewelry and other treasures to be carved from the ivory of elephant tusks continues to fuel poaching and elephant cruelty.
“Elephants are living treasures. Nature’s gardeners. Nature’s great teachers. Tragically some people don’t give a damn. They prefer the dead treasure to the living one. The ivory. We must change this so called ‘trade’ with all our might and shame on those who would condone it.”
~ Virginia McKenna, Founder and Trustee Born Free Foundation
How You Can Help
Like with any market, supply and demand is the law of the jungle. So please help spread the word about the cruelty of elephant poaching. Information can be a powerful tool in helping people change their habits.
Photo credit: screen shot of YouTube video