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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: 86,063
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

Oct 8, 2015 Drew Shiner
Oct 8, 2015 Wayne Smith Ivory is most beautiful on an elephant...
Oct 8, 2015 Josiane Vandijk say no to ivory !
Oct 8, 2015 Rebecca Bush
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Pauline Mitchell
Oct 8, 2015 Keith White
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) China's black market trade and "medicinal" use of animal parts is probably whats responsible for a majority of endangered animals. Want medicine? Go to a pharmacy for some pills, dont illegally buy endangered animal parts consume.
Oct 8, 2015 GLORIA SCHLAEPFER Do we really want the extinction of elephants? Ban ivory sales worldwide!
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Kevin Ricciardo
Oct 8, 2015 Michele Baker
Oct 8, 2015 Linda Bagley stop the slaughter of these precious animals
Oct 8, 2015 bonny mckendrick
Oct 8, 2015 Natalie Murdoch
Oct 8, 2015 Debi Roskam Elephants should not have to pay the price of human greed! Save the elephants & hang the poachers/smugglers!
Oct 8, 2015 Stephanie Pessenda
Oct 8, 2015 Patricia Huggins
Oct 8, 2015 Barbara Cota Please save our beautiful elephants!
Oct 8, 2015 stella Gray
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Linda Potts Protect the elephants...... please!!!
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Susan Harris Please respect the animals! Killing or cutting these beautiful creatures is equal or worse than killing or cutting a human being. They have every right to be here as God made them. Man's greed and ignorance make us the lesser species.
Oct 8, 2015 Shanna Gamache
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Donna Pohler Only barbarians perform such hateful actions. Thank you for helping these wonderful creatures.
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Deborah Jeter
Oct 8, 2015 debra thom
Oct 8, 2015 Michele Perez
Oct 8, 2015 Patricia Jones Stop them!
Oct 8, 2015 vicki muncie This is wrong.
Oct 8, 2015 Michele Evan This is a disgrace. Leave the gentle giants alone. They deserve peace and the right to live without harm.
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) Stop this now!
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Oct 8, 2015 Nicole Bell This really needs to stop. There needs to be more strict measures that take place in order to dinminsh this. This is so needless and unnecessary
Oct 8, 2015 Julia Gifford Why do this beautiful creatures, just so amazing, have to suffer. God, did not intend for this to happen. I just know it in my heart, and I am signing because I definitely want this stopped. No more cruelty and harming the elephants.
Oct 8, 2015 Stephanie McDonald
Oct 8, 2015 Judy Lannon
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) Truth, no one needs an Elephant tusk except an Elephant.
Oct 8, 2015 Sheryl Sorrentino
Oct 8, 2015 Reinhilde Vandorpe
Oct 8, 2015 Mandy Ledbetter
Oct 8, 2015 kevin brunty
Oct 8, 2015 (Name not displayed) tusks or rhino horn as well
Oct 8, 2015 Elizabeth Kerr
Oct 8, 2015 Erika Helt Stop this barbaric use of a majestic elephants
Oct 8, 2015 Hannah Felchle

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