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In less than two weeks, authorities in Kenya, Hong Kong, and Vietnam apprehended nearly seven tons of contraband ivory in four separate raids -- thousands of pieces destined for illegal markets where uninformed consumers trade elephants' lives for trinkets. We can't lose these majestic creatures to greed! Sign below to help end this deadly trade.
Goal: 100,000 Progress: 86,714
Sponsored by: The Rainforest Site

After facing decimation in the 1980s, a global ban on ivory sales barely saved Africa's elephants from extinction.

Then, in 2008 the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreed to unleash stockpiles of ivory in a "one-off" sale to China, and the decision kicked off a surge in demand for the coveted "white gold". Rather than reduce the need for black-market ivory and the poaching that supplies it, China's growing middle class wants more.

And they are willing to pay for it. Soaring prices encourage more poaching and attract the attention of armed rebel groups, corrupt government officials, and international criminal organizations. The profits, in turn, fund other illegal activities elsewhere in the world.

2011 and 2012 were especially lethal years for elephants, smashing previous records for illegal ivory seizures, typically captured en route to China. The trend shows no sign of slowing.

Petition the Chinese Ambassador to the United States to help reverse this bloody path towards extinction.

Sign Here

Dear Ambassador Tiankai:

As long as there is a market for ivory, there will continue to be a demand. Far from reducing demand, the 2008 sale of stockpiles in China has only whetted the world's appetite for additional ivory, driving up prices for this coveted "white gold". Rising prices, in turn, have corrupted government officials and attracted organized crime. And as the New York Times observed, the availability of legally sanctioned ivory has provided the "ideal legal camouflage" for smugglers to launder their illicit goods. And African elephants pay the ultimate price.

In just one example, a recent study published in the scientific journal PLoS One illustrates the consequences for Africa's elephants. According to the research, populations of forest elephants in Central Africa, highly valued for their hard ivory, declined an astonishing 62% over the past ten years, a pace that spells extinction within the next decade.

But the illegal ivory trade is not just a threat to elephants. The increasing scale and sophistication of the poachers and smugglers suggests the involvement of organized crime and militarized rebel organizations with networks spanning national boundaries. These groups threaten stability and peace well beyond the forests and savannas the elephants roam. The tremendous profit made from a shipment of illegal ivory then finances violence elsewhere, much in the same way blood diamonds funded human conflict in past decades.

It remains in China's best interest to see an end to this bloody trade. The 2011 ban on ivory in auction houses and the 2012 ban on online sales both represent positive steps towards this end. Continued seizures, arrests, and prosecutions demonstrate a dedication to cracking down on the illegal trade. Unfortunately, the legal trade is also part of the problem, deceiving consumers into believing their purchases are sanctioned by the state. And a growing middle class further burdens already taxed elephant populations.

As the mounting death toll illustrates, it is not enough to target smugglers and range states alone — destination markets must enforce stricter measures as well. Evidence suggests as much as 50% of the world's ivory is destined for Chinese markets, requiring about 220 tons of raw ivory, or roughly 20,000 elephants, each year.

The current state of affairs suggests three areas for improvement:

  1. Better education for consumers who don't fully comprehend the impact of their purchase. One survey suggests that seven out of ten Chinese consumers believe the ivory is harvested in a sustainable way. If they better understood the consequences for elephants — an early and brutal death — then they could make better purchasing decisions.
  2. Better coordination with range states, sharing law enforcement resources and intelligence to crack down on the criminal networks responsible.
  3. Better regulation culminating in a renewed ban on the sale of ivory in China.

The crisis facing Africa's elephants offers China an opportunity to lead the way, leveraging your growing influence in the world and establishing a model of international cooperation. Without Chinese cooperation and leadership on this matter, African elephants face a dire future, or worse, no future at all.

Petition Signatures

Nov 28, 2015 Gretchen Hunter
Nov 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 28, 2015 Kirsty Bain
Nov 27, 2015 susanna lewis
Nov 27, 2015 Kathleen Perry If the want ivory so bad, pull all of THEIR teeth and put them in a Baggie and give them back to them. Tell them to make believe that they are baby tusks!!!
Nov 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 27, 2015 Carlese Pratt
Nov 27, 2015 Maja Lacković
Nov 27, 2015 Jackie Shaughnessy Horrible all lives matter
Nov 27, 2015 Alessandra Ghio
Nov 27, 2015 Agata Terela
Nov 26, 2015 Stevi Smith
Nov 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 25, 2015 Mandy SChaufler
Nov 25, 2015 Catherine Castronovo Please do all you can to STOP the IVORY TRADE and PROTECT ELEPHANTS. Please ensure and enforce better education, coordination and regulation. Place a RENEWED BAN on SALE OF IVORY and strongly enforce. THANK YOU !!!
Nov 24, 2015 Marianne de Zwart The African Elephants have to be protected in anyway thinkable to preserve them for the generations to come. Stop the export of ivory to China, legal and illegal export, and to any other country as well.
Nov 24, 2015 Matthew O'Connell An elephant is slaughtered every 15 minutes for their tusks. They are left to die horrible deaths, often having their tusks ripped out while still alive. Stop this insanity! Leave ivory where it should be... on the animals!
Nov 24, 2015 Stacy Bell
Nov 24, 2015 Tara Faria
Nov 24, 2015 Jill McGarr
Nov 24, 2015 Sierra Mirtich
Nov 23, 2015 John Mirtich
Nov 23, 2015 Pat Schumacher
Nov 23, 2015 (Name not displayed) Do this now!
Nov 23, 2015 Brittany sheldon
Nov 22, 2015 Isabelle Richard
Nov 22, 2015 Robbie Keopple
Nov 21, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 21, 2015 Debi Hertel
Nov 21, 2015 g fue
Nov 21, 2015 melissa myers
Nov 21, 2015 Annalee Putman
Nov 21, 2015 Helen Mathis We need to stop this. Our wildlife is Dwindling. They even slaughter dogs and cats for leather too. That needs to stop too.
Nov 21, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 21, 2015 Julie McInerney
Nov 20, 2015 Rosa Pereira
Nov 19, 2015 Maryanne Thompson
Nov 19, 2015 Margit Steidl Let these elephants survive! Ivory is an unnecessary stuff in peoples home - no trophy is worth the life of an elephant!
Nov 19, 2015 Claudia Bell
Nov 18, 2015 talpn reddick
Nov 18, 2015 Emily Lauer
Nov 17, 2015 Cindy Vines
Nov 16, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Nov 16, 2015 Kendra Baughn
Nov 16, 2015 Tamara Kranz
Nov 16, 2015 Paula Grieb Only the elephant needs ivory.
Nov 15, 2015 Marie Hemphill
Nov 15, 2015 Elma Pjanic
Nov 15, 2015 Marcus Soon
Nov 15, 2015 Tressa Marie

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