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Elephant Overcomes Adversity with New Prosthetic Foot



Quick Smiles:

  • Chhouk, the Asian elephant in Cambodia, has become an online sensation after receiving a new prosthetic limb, captivating millions of viewers on social media.
  • Rescued as a young calf with a severe foot injury caused by a poacher’s snare, Chhouk’s journey to recovery has inspired people around the world.
  • With the help of dedicated veterinarians, conservation organizations, and a sustainable approach to prosthetics, Chhouk now sports a recycled-tire and foam foot that supports his 9-foot-tall, 20-meter-long frame.

In a heartwarming display of resilience, an Asian elephant named Chhouk captured the hearts of online viewers as he received a new prosthetic limb.

@camwhitnall 5 WAYS to attract animals to your garden! 🦔🦇😃 Usually it’s lions and tigers but today, I’m teaming up with Fiverr this Earth Day to show support to our native garden wildlife. All the animations you saw through the video were made by a talented freelancer from Fiverr. Use my code ‘CAM10’ for 10% off✌️ #ad #EarthDay #learnontiktok #tiktokforgood #earthday2023 ♬ original sound – Cam Whitnall

The video, shared on TikTok by wildlife photographer Cameron Whitnall, has garnered over 3.7 million views, spreading the message of hope and compassion.

“Chhouk [the elephant] was found in 2007, at less than a year old, wandering alone in the forest in northeast Cambodia,” Whitnall said in an interview.

“He had not only lost his foot to a poacher’s snare, but he was also gravely ill from the infected wound and severely malnourished.”

Thankfully, he was rescued by Nick Marx, the director of the Wildlife Alliance in Cambodia, and has been living at the center ever since.

“Thanks to incredible vets, conservation organizations, good zoos and people, we’re able to give animals a better quality of life with prosthetic limbs like Chhouk,” Whitnall said.


The Cambodian School of Prosthetics and Orthotics, funded by Whitnall’s family zoo, Paradise Wildlife Park, designed and built Chhouk’s replaceable feet using recycled tires, plastics, and foam for comfort.

At 15 years old and nearly 9 feet tall, Chhouk’s new foot needs to withstand his impressive size and weight.

Weighing about 44 pounds, the foot requires replacement every six months as elephants continue to grow until they are around 20 to 25 years old.

With the help of positive reinforcement training, Chhouk cooperates during the shoe-changing process, associating it with rewards and positive experiences.

The TikTok video shared by Whitnall takes viewers behind the scenes of Chhouk’s foot replacement process, showcasing the meticulous care provided by the dedicated team.

The heartwarming footage has garnered hundreds of thousands of likes and comments, evoking awe and admiration from viewers around the world.


“Incredible how he understands that you want to help,” expressed one user, encapsulating the emotional connection forged through Chhouk’s story.

Another user affectionately declared, “Oh my heart! He has to be my favorite elephant ever.”

Chhouk’s journey reminds us of the remarkable resilience and adaptability of animals, and the power of human compassion to improve their lives.

Thanks to the collective efforts of veterinarians, conservationists, and wildlife enthusiasts, animals like Chhouk can be given a second chance, inspiring hope and fostering a deeper appreciation for the wonders of the natural world.

Source: Newsweek