Brada Fights Elephant Abuse in Thailand, Lack of Understanding in U.S.


Maxwell Timmer, Staff Writer, Journalism I

I lived with the elephants every day. I saw the scars on their ears and around their legs. I saw the ones that were afraid of people,” said Lilly Brada, a senior at Notre Dame Academy.

Brada has taken the cause of elephant abuse into her own hands and has started raising money for Thai Elephant Home. Thai Elephant Home is a foundation that, according to their mission, is “devoted to the conservation and preservation of the endangered majestic Asian elephant.”  

In the summer of 2015, Brada travelled to Thailand for a two-week service trip with a program called Global Leadership Adventures (GLA). Brada, while caring for the elephants, realized the problem at hand.

In 1989, Thailand implemented a logging ban in reaction to a flood that destroyed cities. Thousands of elephants and mahouts (the elephant trainers) were put out of work. As a result, tourism became the next best option,” said Brada, “Unfortunately, to keep up with demand and beat out other tourism companies, mahouts started to abuse their elephants. The more popular tourism got, the worse the abuse got.”

“These creatures are being tortured, and not only that, but many living conditions are extremely poor. In the past ten years, elephant numbers have dropped dramatically,” Brada explained. She realized the importance of saving these creatures and started to help.

Brada has been raising money last week and this week for Thai Elephant Home and hopes to continue educating the many people that don’t understand this problem.  She sells awareness bracelets during lunch, and each person who donates has his name entered in a drawing for Packer tickets in the upcoming Viking game.

“Aside from my fundraiser, the most important thing right now is education,” said Brada.

Realizing the problem is one of the biggest steps in gaining awareness for the elephants.

“I’ve actually had more than one person tell me they refuse to help my cause. I don’t understand why. This isn’t something that can be argued. Go to Thailand and you’ll see this happening. Count elephant numbers now and from a year from now; I can guess they’ll go down by a large margin,” said Brada.

Educating people on the dangers of this abuse on elephants can prevent the abuse from continuing and hopefully stop it.

If you would like to donate, you can contact Lilly Brada at [email protected].  

“I’m not forcing anyone to donate, but this isn’t something I made up,” said Brada. ”I lived it. This is a real issue.”