Statement of Sen. Bob Graham
Asian Elephant Conservation Act

Mr. Chairman, I commend you for holding this hearing of the reauthorization of the African Elephant Conservation Fund and the creation of the Asian Elephant Conservation Act. We owe it to the children of the world to do everything in our power to save these extraordinary mammals.

I have been heartened to learn that the African Elephant Conservation Act is producing positive results. I am hopeful that the Asian Elephant Conservation Act will likewise support research, conservation, anti-poaching education, and protection of the animals. I feel strongly, however, that no funds allocated by these Acts are spent to promote efforts to resume the ivory trade or to encourage trophy hunting.

According to a 1996 nationwide poll, 84 percent of Americans support efforts to protect elephants, yet I have learned that some of the funds from the African Elephant Conservation Act have gone toward promotion of elephant trophy hunting. As we have heard in today's testimony, there is much debate about the success and appropriateness of uS taxpayer dollars being used to support such activities. I look forward to hearing more about this issue in the coming months.

Again, I am in full support of the Asian Elephant Conservation Act, as shown by my cosponsorship of Senator Jeffords important bill, and am very supportive of the reauthorization of the African Elephant Conservation Act. I am hopeful that all interested parties can work together to find solutions for the elephants, the rural communities in which they live, and the people who depend on them for their livelihoods.