From Goats to Elephants

From Goats to Elephants

Photo of Keleigh Beehler with a goatFrom the time she was a young child, Keleigh Beehler (BS, Animal Science, ’12) has loved animals. She had cats, dogs, and hamsters in her home; read animal magazines voraciously; and cherished those special times when she was able to be around horses near her father’s house in Sebastopol. When it came time to go to college, she chose CSU, Chico partially because of Chico’s small-town feel but also because of the reputation of its animal science department.

While her mother, Karen Dias Chavet (BA, Spanish, ’81), is also a Chico State grad, Beehler says she didn’t push her in that direction. “She wanted me to make my own decision,” says Beehler. “But when I did decide to go there, she was happy.”

Beehler enjoyed the animal science department because of the teachers and advisors, whom she always found to be helpful. Perhaps the close relationship between teachers and animal studies students is cemented on CSU, Chico’s farm. There, students perform all the necessary tasks of running the farming operation. If you want a group of teachers and students to bond, there is nothing like working together in the dirt.

Keleigh Beehler working with an elephant in Thailand.

Keleigh Beehler working with an elephant in Thailand.

When Beehler graduated from CSU, Chico, she went to work for a goat farm in Marin County. She absolutely loved working with the goats because “they will get into anything and do everything.”  She could always tell the goats apart because of their unique personalities.

She recently left the goat farm, however, because she really wanted to work with something bigger. Much bigger: elephants. In 2013, Beehler lived and worked with elephants in Thailand for three months. “I lived in a hut in a tiny village,” she says. “Our job was to reintroduce elephants into the wild. We went out to them every day, studying their behavior. Elephants are where I want to be.” Now, she is making plans to return to Thailand to learn more about the largest land animal on the planet. Then she wants to find a position in the United States where she can put her elephant expertise and her passion for animals to good use.

Tim Hauserman (BS, Political Science and Geography and Planning, ’81) met Beehler’s mother as a freshman in Whitney Hall. He has authored four books including the official guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail and his latest effort, a children’s book, Gertrude’s Tahoe Adventures in Time.