Since the outbreak of COVID-19, service to others has become especially important across our communities, from delivering essential groceries to an isolating neighbour to calling a loved one more often.

Mark Price (U81) and his youngest daughter have shared their unique experience of helping the local community over the last year by supporting the elephants in their village. As Thailand closed their borders and their tourism industry collapsed, the reduction in tourists resulted in a local elephant owner being unable to afford feeding his herd.

Mark’s youngest daughter, Sophia, who is 12 years old has created an extraordinary bond with one of the female elephants at the camp, Nopakhun. This is a bond, that even the owner of the camp and their mahouts say they have never seen before.

Mark and Sophia took on a great task to keep these elephants fed. The average three ton elephant needs around 200kg of food a day and have a wholly vegan diet. Mark and Sophia spoke to local farmers to source as much food as possible to sustain the herd.

As Thailand’s tourism industry accounts for around 25% of its annual GDP and borders likely to stayed closed into the latter part of the year, Mark and Sophia have committed to saving the lives of all six elephants at the farm. Not only do they aim to keep these wonderful animals alive, but they also hope, with the willingness of their owners, to relocate all six elephants to one of the elephant foundations available in Thailand where they will get to live their lives freely.

This is just one act of kindness from our wider Old Gregorian Community, and really emphasises the importance of joining together in today’s society. Mark was kind enough to let us share his story and some images of their time with the elephants.

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