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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: 84,568
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

Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed) This must be stopped now. Shame on anyone or any country that supports the ivory trade
Aug 31, 2015 Virginia Spivak
Aug 31, 2015 Pat Gilchrist
Aug 31, 2015 Kristine Graulich
Aug 31, 2015 Kathleen GARDIAN
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Nancy Williams
Aug 31, 2015 Charmaine Henriques
Aug 31, 2015 Cynthia Carr This has to stop now. Please educate people that elephants are killed for their ivory.
Aug 31, 2015 Cassandra Gillum
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Kara Piquet
Aug 31, 2015 Jessica Mataranglo
Aug 31, 2015 CINDY WOO
Aug 31, 2015 Karen Johan Please stop the slaughter of elephants for ivory
Aug 31, 2015 marcy chapin
Aug 31, 2015 Chloe Swenny Please stop the slaughter of elephants for ivory
Aug 31, 2015 Janet Lancaste
Aug 31, 2015 Gisele Giguere
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Patricia Szulimowski
Aug 31, 2015 Amber Johnson
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed) Please please don't hurt these animals any more just purely for a small part of their body. It's all about money. Please THINK.
Aug 31, 2015 Shirley Mischuk
Aug 31, 2015 Kim blackberg
Aug 31, 2015 Patricia Gonzalez
Aug 31, 2015 trudee balester this has to stop now
Aug 31, 2015 Jennifer Wilson
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Kelley Murray We must speak out for those without voices. This is a cruel practice. Would we allow hunting people for organs? Why then, do we allow this to continue. I life is a life. Period.
Aug 31, 2015 Erica Barretta
Aug 31, 2015 laura skelton Please help stop this trade.
Aug 31, 2015 Patricia Poggi How can this killing ever be O.K>?
Aug 31, 2015 Charlottw Collingbwood Have the Chinese authorities no morals?? It is so short sighted, soon there will be no elephants left for the rest of the world to enjoy. Extinction based on natural selection is one thing, human led extinction is despicable!
Aug 31, 2015 C Starkey
Aug 31, 2015 Nina Keefer
Aug 31, 2015 Tania Malven Appalling!!!!!
Aug 31, 2015 chantelle prinsloo I'll support animals in any way I can. People do not deserve to be on this planet.
Aug 31, 2015 Alice Tolsma
Aug 31, 2015 Judith Rubenstein
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 31, 2015 Siggi Winsor
Aug 31, 2015 Margaret Mott What they do to these poor animals should be done to them. Laws need to be enforced. This needs to be stopped.
Aug 31, 2015 benita maller
Aug 31, 2015 connie palmer
Aug 31, 2015 Sandra Trott
Aug 31, 2015 (Name not displayed) Stop the killing of these magnificent animals

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