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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: 84,353
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 28, 2015 Judy Williams
Aug 28, 2015 Tara L The more i know people the more i love animals!!!!
Aug 28, 2015 Pam Marston
Aug 28, 2015 Paul McDermott Jr. Get with the rest of the CIVILIZED world and stop this cruel and heinous practice!
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed) Stop it now!
Aug 28, 2015 Carla Crespo
Aug 28, 2015 Joan Parsley We must not let these magnificent creatures go extinct!
Aug 27, 2015 Andrea Smith
Aug 27, 2015 Sherry McCullough
Aug 27, 2015 Sally Carter
Aug 27, 2015 S Sinclaire Please save these majestic elephants, they bring tourists and money to your country, killing elephants and other animals for sport or even poaching only hurts in the future. These elephants are sensitive animals with family units. SAVE THEM.
Aug 27, 2015 Laurie Fisher
Aug 27, 2015 Jon Rich
Aug 27, 2015 Sandy Hardwick
Aug 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 27, 2015 Theresa Rinaldi
Aug 27, 2015 Pam Williamson
Aug 27, 2015 Patricia Hughes
Aug 27, 2015 kimberly bridges
Aug 27, 2015 lisa johnson
Aug 27, 2015 Vivian Manganello
Aug 27, 2015 barbara rosenthal
Aug 27, 2015 Susan Martin
Aug 27, 2015 Al Zimerman Please consider banning the trade in ivory to help prevent the imminent extinction of elephants.
Aug 27, 2015 linda rucci Please don't be like the Ugly American and think ivory makes you look good. It doesnt. Ivory only looks good attached to the creature who grew it
Aug 27, 2015 Alma R. Lopez
Aug 27, 2015 Carol Courtney
Aug 27, 2015 Ann Malone You have the power to stop the extinction. Please save these magnificent creatures.
Aug 26, 2015 Deborah Cronkhite
Aug 26, 2015 Joan Meehan
Aug 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 26, 2015 R Kraft
Aug 26, 2015 carole thompson
Aug 26, 2015 heather perry
Aug 26, 2015 liz jensen please show some compassion they also deserve to live in peace like us... ♡
Aug 26, 2015 Constantine Manos
Aug 26, 2015 Jeren Guney
Aug 26, 2015 Norbert Coulange
Aug 26, 2015 Pamala McKenna
Aug 26, 2015 (Name not displayed) Think of YOUR children and grandchildren!
Aug 26, 2015 Martha Kubik
Aug 26, 2015 Sofia Andrade
Aug 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 26, 2015 Yairma Santos
Aug 26, 2015 silvana perin
Aug 26, 2015 luigi bertoldo
Aug 26, 2015 Lauri Moon
Aug 26, 2015 Jeanette Yearout Horrific considering the people involved in slowly killing off elephants are in the 21st century.

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