CSUSB Student Spotlight: Bianca Castro and her impactful journey to Thailand

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Nursing student Bianca Castro’s passionate drive to give back embodies the spirit of the CSUSB Coyote. In summer 2017, she traveled to northern Thailand to help abused animals at the Elephant Nature Park, creating a significant impact on those voiceless beings in need.

The Elephant Nature Park is a 250-acre rescue and rehabilitation center made primarily for elephants, but also offers aid to dogs, cats and buffalo, among other animals.

“We learned about the exploitation of elephants and other animals in various different industries ranging from tourism to logging and many others,” Castro said. “The abuse was described as ‘breaking the souls’ of the gentle giants and the elephants we cared for at this park were all rescued from such abuse.”

Castro’s nursing studies at CSUSB helped her with caring for the animals “because one of the biggest things that they emphasize in nursing is that you’re not just caring for the illness for the patient, the underlying problem, you also have to advocate for the patient.”

Castro and the other volunteers took care of the elephants by preparing their food, feeding them, bathing them and even walking them through the jungles. The park is trek free, meaning there is no riding the elephants and they are never caged.

“The park and the people who ran it were truly phenomenal, providing so much education and advocacy on behalf of animals, which do not have the voice to advocate for themselves,” Castro said.

She not only learned about the animals during her journey, but also about the environmental and economic issues that face Thailand.

“Being a coyote inspired me to take on this experience because I feel one of the biggest things about being a coyote is giving back to the community,” Castro said. And not just to the local community — but “in any way you possibly can.”

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