Today when wildlife species seem threatened more than ever, we should celebrate that the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act was signed into law on March 12, 2019. The act renews efforts to save iconic species in the wild, support conservation, fight the progress of invasive species in the U.S., and promote innovative solutions to some of conservation’s most difficult problems. This bipartisan lands package includes provisions to improve international conservation through the Wildlife Innovation and Longevity Driver (WILD Act). The act reauthorizes the Multinational Species Conservation Fund (MCF) which helped conserve some of the world’s most iconic species like elephants, rhinos, tigers, great apes, and marine turtles. 

“The National Wildlife Federation believes that collaborative conservation and innovation are essential to ensuring that wildlife thrive in our rapidly changing world,” said Collin O’Mara, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. Carter Roberts, president, and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) stated, “The WILD Act will advance the cause of wildlife conservation, both in the United States and around the world. This bipartisan bill will catalyze innovative solutions to combat wildlife trafficking and improve wildlife management. And it reauthorizes critical U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service programs that help developing countries protect their wildlife while creating economic opportunities around conservation.  

The new law may be a little confusing because the current administration’s decision to partially lift previous bans on importing elephant parts for trophies seems to be at odds with the WILD Act. There is a “push and pull” between conservationists and hunters, and lobbies on both sides have strong arguments for their positions. But Africa Hope Fund is not a political organization. We don’t lobby our government or agencies for decisions that favor wildlife over hunting, but your donations help protect wildlife in Zambia where Zambian laws protect them. Policies in the U.S. that affect elephants and other wildlife may come and go depending on politics. As long as you continue to help fund Zambian agencies that support anti-poaching, remove snares from wildlife, and educate the public about the value of conserving wildlife, elephants will continue to be a stable population in the South Luangwa National Park. Support legislators who advocate for wildlife conservation when you can, and please help support our work in Zambia, so elephants are more than trophies. 

Written by Patricia Cole

An Africa Hope Fund board member for 7 years, Pat is a writer and a conservation activist. After traveling to Zambia, she became dedicated to helping Africa Hope Fund provide education to the next generation of Africans and ensure their future by protecting wildlife. Find Patricia on Facebook and Twitter, or on her websites and

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Carol Van Brugen