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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: 75,941
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

Jul 4, 2015 chantal billot
Jul 3, 2015 Ivan Brewer
Jul 3, 2015 Melissa Hadfield
Jul 3, 2015 Linda Williams
Jul 3, 2015 Ted & Susan Clark
Jul 3, 2015 Timi Townsend
Jul 3, 2015 lennart blomqvist
Jul 2, 2015 Judy Foose Please help to stop the ivory trade business. Thank You.
Jul 2, 2015 Eric Bajon
Jul 2, 2015 Brooks Slaybaugh
Jul 2, 2015 elizabeth mensforth
Jul 2, 2015 T Lewis
Jul 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 2, 2015 Lindsey Palmer
Jul 2, 2015 Linda Cowart
Jul 2, 2015 B B
Jul 2, 2015 karen Velthaus Please stop this inhumane act against am animal that simply wants to be alive like you.
Jul 2, 2015 Dallas Swank stop the immoral and abominable practice of allowing ivory into world trade, ban this now.
Jul 2, 2015 Jeanne Pascal killing elephants for ivory is wrong. It needs to be banned worldwide NOW.
Jul 2, 2015 Thomas Spero
Jul 2, 2015 Julie Ellis
Jul 2, 2015 Rita White
Jul 2, 2015 erika barone
Jul 2, 2015 Leslie Conover
Jul 2, 2015 Marlene Lewaratowski
Jul 2, 2015 Gunnar Lien
Jul 2, 2015 Shirley Storey It would be terrible for this world if majestic elephants went extinct because of the ivory trade.
Jul 2, 2015 lori bace Please help stop the madness!
Jul 2, 2015 Heather Matthes
Jul 2, 2015 jan mukomela
Jul 2, 2015 richie stoike stop the murder now!!! very evil people
Jul 2, 2015 Noatxell Larrea
Jul 2, 2015 Wendy Wright
Jul 2, 2015 Tomomi Kamimura
Jul 2, 2015 yasuo nishiyama
Jul 2, 2015 Anu Sipiläinen
Jul 2, 2015 Debbie Baughman
Jul 2, 2015 Patrizia Menta
Jul 2, 2015 Carol Winter
Jul 2, 2015 serena salzmer
Jul 2, 2015 antje oleikiewitz
Jul 2, 2015 Deborah Cohen Disgusting animal abuses must end.
Jul 2, 2015 giordana stammi
Jul 2, 2015 aline roaux
Jul 2, 2015 Donalee Peden
Jul 2, 2015 susan drinhuyzen please STOP killing elephants!!!
Jul 2, 2015 Donna Green
Jul 2, 2015 Anne Thomson Why can't these greedy b......s wake up to what they are doing to an endangered species
Jul 2, 2015 Laura Ryan

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