Meet The Doctor Who Invented the First Elephant Prosthetics


Orthopedic surgeon Therdchai Jivacate has been providing affordable prosthetic limbs to people across Thailand since 1992. The founder of the Prostheses Foundation of Thailand he has provided more than 25,000 prosthetic limbs to amputees in remote areas, selling them for just 1 percent of their normal price, according to the Harvard Business Review.

But humans aren’t Dr. Jivacate’s only grateful patients: A young elephant named Mosha also has Jivacate to thank for her prosthetic leg. In the Great Big Story video “Mending the Leg of a Giant,” Jivacate explains how he went about inventing the world’s first elephant prosthetic for Mosha, who lost her real leg after stepping on a landmine, and how it created a special bond between him and the elephant.

According to Jivacate, Mosha still remembers him each time he comes to visit—and has even learned to check his pockets for candy. Developing the first elephant prosthetics has been challenging, because Mosha frequently outgrows the artificial leg. Still, Jivacate says he learns more each time he builds Mosha a new one. “This is a challenge for me too," Jivacate says in the video. "Every time we fix it, we improve it. It’s more sturdy, stronger. This [isn’t] in a textbook. Sometimes it’s trial and error.”

Banner Image Credit: Great Big Story, YouTube

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