They say elephants never forget, and certainly Megan Connor ’13 will never forget the elephants. She traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, this summer to help take care of an entire herd.
The Elephant Nature Park sanctuary rescues elephants from owners who beat and abused them. Many of the pachyderms were used in the tourist trade to give rides or perform tricks like kicking a ball or painting on an easel. Those behaviors aren’t allowed at the sanctuary.
“Training a wild elephant to learn human voice commands involves breaking its will, and that means beating it into submission,” said Connor, a communications studies major and forward on the Dons’ soccer team. “At the sanctuary, elephants are allowed to be elephants again.”
Connor slept under mosquito nets and rose at dawn each morning to chop and sort hundreds of pounds of fruits and vegetables for the park’s 30 Asian giants—known to eat 350 pounds each in a day. She also hand-fed the animals, cuddled with baby elephants at nap time, and bathed them at the end of each day. Luckily, a nearby river made the job easier.