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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: 71,083
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.

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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


Oct 31, 2014 Susan Moyer
Oct 31, 2014 maria maher
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed) please save the elephants
Oct 31, 2014 Patricia Vincent-Myrick
Oct 31, 2014 Andy Okroi
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Louise Wadelius
Oct 31, 2014 Cristina Fraley
Oct 31, 2014 Breda Roche
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 gary Stockinger
Oct 31, 2014 Gretchen Kalm Please treat your wildlife and animals the way you treat your children as a lot of your children will travel to other countries when they are older to study etc. Don't let your children where the shame of there parents doing.
Oct 31, 2014 Susan Jaques Stop this disgusting practice...anybody involved in this should be ashamed of themselves..
Oct 31, 2014 joey kent
Oct 31, 2014 blr blr help them
Oct 31, 2014 kar kar save them
Oct 31, 2014 sundar esan please save them
Oct 31, 2014 kuppu raj save them
Oct 31, 2014 carol roseblade
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Jessica Ingalls
Oct 31, 2014 melissa pope
Oct 31, 2014 Michelle Emry
Oct 31, 2014 shane andrews
Oct 31, 2014 zoe clowes
Oct 30, 2014 Rodney Dunn
Oct 30, 2014 Linsey Greer
Oct 30, 2014 Jennifer Insupp
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 sam saputo
Oct 30, 2014 Victoria Parker
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 Denice Jones
Oct 30, 2014 Shirley Sorenson
Oct 30, 2014 Cheryl Champion
Oct 30, 2014 Sophie Szabó
Oct 30, 2014 Stacy LeDoux
Oct 30, 2014 Emily Young
Oct 30, 2014 yeshi Dolma
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 lulu pearse
Oct 30, 2014 Sue Ellen Camden-Lee
Oct 30, 2014 Lan Phan Please don't let these beautiful creatures go extinct because of greed and profit.
Oct 30, 2014 Leslie Sedberry Save the elephants!
Oct 30, 2014 Mary Bryant
Oct 30, 2014 Sharon Posey
Oct 30, 2014 Jean Marie Vinecourt
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please save these beautiful animals!!! The deserve respect and kindness. It's terrible what these heartless poachers are doing to them. It breaks my heart!!!
Oct 30, 2014 Sharon Lewis I am absolutely against this terrible atrocity!
Oct 30, 2014 David Gibb

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