Cambodia’s only elephant with a prosthetic leg, now named Chhouk, which means lotus flower in Khmer, was found in 2007 in Sre Pok Wildlife Sanctuary, Mondulkiri, in the north-east of Cambodia. A horrendous leg injury from a hunting snare had caused him to lose his family and become extremely emaciated. With our care and support at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, his horrific leg wound healed, and he found sister-like company in the female elephant Lucky. After an extensive search, we were grateful to the Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics (CSPO), which agreed to try and make Chhouk a prosthetic shoe. We still aren’t sure who was happier, CSPO, our team, or Chhouk, when he accepted the shoe and has now worn 22 one-of-a-kind shoes. Wildlife Rescue and Care program director Nick Marx tells the full story of Chhouk’s rescue and our subsequent campaign for stronger laws regarding snaring in Cambodia on our blog.
Over time, as he grows or the shoe gets worn out, CSPO is happy to make new shoes or adjustments to old ones. His expert keepers work with him using positive reinforcement training and cooperative care to change his shoe and check his physical health twice a day. Watch his routine checks on our youtube channel.
We are committed to caring for Chhouk at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre for the rest of his life. If you would like to help support the care of Chhouk and other rescued wildlife, check out the best ways below.