When Katie Ommanney looks into the eyes of an elephant, she sees a person inside them.
“They have emotions, they have personalities,” Ommanney said. “I know that I am seeing somebody in there. There is a being there that is processing information in the same way humans do.”
Ommanney has more than a tourist’s connection with the world’s largest land animals. One of her earliest memories from growing up in the African country of Tanzania are of a young male elephant standing by her family’s tent and making rumbling sounds as her young brother was bottle-fed.
Ommanney came back to the United States in 1997, graduating from Dover High School. She currently is getting an undergraduate degree in natural resources with a concentration in wildlife management from Delaware State University.
She chose natural resource instead of animal biology because she wants to be versed in things like land-use and planning.
“I believe that, in order to conserve any species, you need the cooperation of the people around it,” Ommanney said. “This degree really helps me focus on the human-animal connection.”
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