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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: 73,018
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

Dec 22, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 21, 2014 Dulcie Camp
Dec 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 19, 2014 Pablo Vázquez
Dec 19, 2014 Liz Kirkland
Dec 18, 2014 Laura Tysinger
Dec 17, 2014 michele huber
Dec 17, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 16, 2014 Marco salustri
Dec 15, 2014 Kate Pfeilschiefter Stop buying Ivory, stop funding the death and destruction of wildlife and human beings. Ban the disgusting trade.
Dec 15, 2014 Doris Potter
Dec 15, 2014 Diana Nicolas It's more than a sin to kill off species just to satisfy people that are heartless and greedy !
Dec 15, 2014 nadia reategui
Dec 15, 2014 Joy Brown
Dec 15, 2014 Veronica Williams
Dec 15, 2014 lacey brown
Dec 15, 2014 dr vipul dave
Dec 15, 2014 Linda Bailey Elephants are one of the most intelligent creatures on earth...why on earth cant people stop killing them...maybe we could learn a thing or 2 from them instead!
Dec 14, 2014 Katherine Myskowski
Dec 13, 2014 Maja W
Dec 13, 2014 Ally Aravena
Dec 13, 2014 verena Wazlawik
Dec 13, 2014 Mizuki Ohara
Dec 12, 2014 John Taylor Jr
Dec 12, 2014 (Name not displayed) Everyone one day will have to stand up for their actions!
Dec 12, 2014 Jürgen Breu
Dec 12, 2014 Edward Armm
Dec 12, 2014 Perri Sussman
Dec 11, 2014 Gilay Oliveira Souza
Dec 10, 2014 irene quinn We have only one world ,with an amazing array of wildlife, which must be allowed to roam reproduce, and live a full life as we do, slicing their faces off for the sake of trinkets is unforgivable , it has to stop now !!!!
Dec 10, 2014 lenore meyers
Dec 10, 2014 Linda Hancock You really really have to protect these enormously beautifully charismatic animals. We must not and cannot lose them especially in such a mindless manner so please do all you can to protect them. Please
Dec 10, 2014 Marcie Martin
Dec 9, 2014 Cecilia Guadalupe Villalobos Gallardo
Dec 9, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 9, 2014 Ugo D'Altri
Dec 9, 2014 francesco foti
Dec 9, 2014 ivana carrozzi
Dec 9, 2014 Massimiliano Paparo
Dec 8, 2014 Mary Lanis
Dec 8, 2014 michiel van hoorik we are beasts
Dec 8, 2014 ken stein Please give these anuimals more protection so these killings can stop !
Dec 8, 2014 Maureen Haase How many more elephants & rhinos need to be killed to satisfy the Chinese needs for ivory? If this continues, there won't be any more rhinos.
Dec 8, 2014 Lauren Fleming
Dec 8, 2014 Jayne Lesniak
Dec 7, 2014 Mary Jane Zar
Dec 7, 2014 Robin Arnold
Dec 7, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 7, 2014 annalisa nembrotte

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