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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: 75,000 Progress: 68,722
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 in 2013.

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

Sep 1, 2014 Penny Welstead These majestic creatures deserve our respect and, I wish very bad things on the evil poachers but, if people stopped buying ivory then, the poachers would have no need to slaughter these gentle and intelligent animals!
Sep 1, 2014 Heather Cowan Please stop this trade, it is jeopardising Africa's elephants. There are always major of killing any part of nature and besides that it is totally disgusting to kill for greed! Please be an instrument to stop this.
Sep 1, 2014 Cristina Fiorillo Soon the elephants will be exterminated. Blood money has been made from their demise. There will be some money but no love or honor. You will have allowed this magnificent creature to be wiped off the face of the earth.
Sep 1, 2014 Sharon Hawkins
Sep 1, 2014 Anouk Van Damme
Sep 1, 2014 K. Krieger
Sep 1, 2014 Monica Schillaci
Sep 1, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 1, 2014 María Vazquez
Sep 1, 2014 Genpo Döring
Sep 1, 2014 Tanya Roddan
Sep 1, 2014 Helga Lobinger
Sep 1, 2014 Paolo Cuccione
Sep 1, 2014 Rick Martin-Bacon
Sep 1, 2014 Ina Porzig
Sep 1, 2014 andrea ferguson
Sep 1, 2014 Richard Holt
Sep 1, 2014 Suzie Sparkes Stop this cruel slaughter of elephants for ivory that only looks beautiful on the elephant
Sep 1, 2014 Val Quercia
Sep 1, 2014 laurie Feuerborn
Sep 1, 2014 Tomoko Mizu
Sep 1, 2014 Martin Feuerborn
Sep 1, 2014 Raquel Soares
Sep 1, 2014 karen skerry
Sep 1, 2014 Keri Lewis
Sep 1, 2014 Raul Abdullin
Sep 1, 2014 tracy nelson
Sep 1, 2014 Irene Holt
Sep 1, 2014 tricia shawcross
Sep 1, 2014 palmira bodini
Sep 1, 2014 Katarina Gajićová
Sep 1, 2014 eddy declerck
Aug 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2014 benja thongnamsup
Aug 31, 2014 Nathan Peirce
Aug 31, 2014 Barbara Maloit
Aug 31, 2014 Dawn Marie
Aug 31, 2014 cathy piperni
Aug 31, 2014 Gabriella Riba
Aug 31, 2014 Justine Marcoux
Aug 31, 2014 Lillian McGee Please sign this and also sign the more sniffer dogs needed' to sniff out illegal ivory petiton!
Aug 31, 2014 Heidi Osterman
Aug 30, 2014 Kathy Hughes CRUEL
Aug 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 30, 2014 Gail Walpole
Aug 30, 2014 Natalie Gray
Aug 30, 2014 (Name not displayed) please do something to stop the ivory trade and save the elephants. thank you
Aug 30, 2014 Irena Marshall
Aug 30, 2014 Dumaine Mickael

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