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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: 75,000 Progress: 69,952
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 2, 2014 Raija Valkola
Oct 1, 2014 Maria Alice Simao
Oct 1, 2014 ANKITA PRIYA
Oct 1, 2014 Jelena Markovic
Oct 1, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 1, 2014 Sarah Fisher
Oct 1, 2014 Dunja k
Oct 1, 2014 Stefano Fuschetto
Oct 1, 2014 Denis Coutet
Sep 30, 2014 Agenor Zampieri
Sep 30, 2014 Lucia Bedesco Zampieri
Sep 30, 2014 Mariana Bedesco Zampieri
Sep 30, 2014 Patty Harrison
Sep 30, 2014 Carla Caston
Sep 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 30, 2014 Lorraine Pierre
Sep 30, 2014 nicole flemming
Sep 30, 2014 Anne Lewis
Sep 30, 2014 joyce alexander
Sep 30, 2014 Karin Martin
Sep 30, 2014 EMIKO OMORI
Sep 30, 2014 Julia Edwards
Sep 30, 2014 Debbie Horn
Sep 30, 2014 長内 薫
Sep 30, 2014 elham hosseini
Sep 30, 2014 della lurusso
Sep 30, 2014 Fiorella Mezzogori
Sep 30, 2014 giuseppina CAPASSO
Sep 30, 2014 rosanna ligato
Sep 30, 2014 Jennifer Anderson
Sep 29, 2014 Flor chavez
Sep 29, 2014 Peter Colling
Sep 29, 2014 (Name not displayed) you evil bastards, Karma will send you MORE Ebola and 70 SCALE earthquake. STOP murdering the Animals.
Sep 29, 2014 Michelle Mcdaniel
Sep 29, 2014 Mirela Cipris
Sep 29, 2014 Luciane Lima
Sep 29, 2014 bob skinner The world will not stand by and allow Chinese to slaughter our magnificent elephants. They are certainly much more intelligent than you. How inhumane and short sighted. The Chinese demand in illegal ivory trade will wipe out these magnificent creatures
Sep 29, 2014 Kazumi Oonaka
Sep 29, 2014 sharon skinner Please! Humans have no right to decimate an animal population. Shame on the Chinese people. Elephants are among the most intelligent and social animals on our planet. Don't make them extinct - PLEASE
Sep 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Sep 29, 2014 Ayako Tosa
Sep 29, 2014 holly allen please stop the killing no one needs ivory cruel and evil .
Sep 29, 2014 christopher smith
Sep 29, 2014 Lida Angelova
Sep 29, 2014 serena racana
Sep 29, 2014 gilda harzi
Sep 29, 2014 mohit beniwal
Sep 29, 2014 Sofija Kavrakova
Sep 29, 2014 Terri Henry

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