AZA and its Government Affairs Committee present a strong voice for animal welfare, conservation, research, and public education at the international, federal, and state levels. AZA works to influence the creation of policy and laws that will help protect elephants. AZA advocates that Congress increase conservation funding under the Multi-National Species Conservation Fund program, which includes African and Asian elephants, and seeks innovative legislative mechanisms for addressing elephant management and protection issues.
AZA has recently provided professional testimony to Congress on three critical animal issues:
AZA supported Congress in the re-authorization of three highly effective International Wildlife Conservation Acts which provide critical funding for the protection of the rhinoceros, tiger, African elephant, and Asian elephant. The Rhino-Tiger Conservation Act, African Elephant Conservation Act, and Asian Elephant Conservation Act each serves as important pieces of legislation that represent a notable percentage of the federal government's direct contribution to preserving in situ populations of these species.
Since the late 1980s, the African Elephant Conservation Act has generated 123 projects in 22 countries which have significantly stemmed the dramatic decline in African elephant numbers. The Asian Elephant Conservation Fund, created in 1997, has generated 27 projects in 9 countries.