Why this ad?
Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
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: 73,906
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

Jan 30, 2015 James Flanagan
Jan 30, 2015 Kelley Beyer
Jan 29, 2015 (Name not displayed) Killing elephants is insane. They live in family groups and care deeply for one another. Stop the killing.
Jan 28, 2015 anthony roberts
Jan 28, 2015 Stacy Manuel
Jan 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 27, 2015 elísio almeida
Jan 26, 2015 Donna Harris
Jan 26, 2015 jenna page
Jan 26, 2015 Robin Acton
Jan 26, 2015 emilio leone
Jan 25, 2015 juanita patrick
Jan 25, 2015 vania werneck
Jan 25, 2015 Fadem Bouhiana
Jan 25, 2015 Adriana Miritescu
Jan 25, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 24, 2015 Bryana Nesbitt
Jan 24, 2015 Deirdre Fitzsimmons
Jan 24, 2015 Jan Serignea The decline in elephants over the past 50 years is enormous - all for the ivory. We are destroying our natural world animal by animal, piece by piece. It has to stop if our grandchildren are to have nothing left.
Jan 24, 2015 Elizabeth Herreman
Jan 24, 2015 sabine coutreel charron
Jan 24, 2015 alessandro ciccarelli
Jan 24, 2015 Adriana Miritescu
Jan 24, 2015 gisa vollhardt
Jan 24, 2015 elizabeth Damien
Jan 24, 2015 Nuria Garcia
Jan 24, 2015 Manuela Noske
Jan 24, 2015 androullaa savva
Jan 23, 2015 taylor,john Taylor
Jan 23, 2015 Jutta Christof
Jan 23, 2015 Lisa Myk
Jan 23, 2015 christa pellikaan
Jan 23, 2015 Elizabeth Rénier
Jan 23, 2015 Rogi Rogic
Jan 23, 2015 Janett Loher
Jan 23, 2015 Manfred Girod
Jan 23, 2015 Dee Taube I will not bring my tourist dollars to China as long as China supports the ivory trade.
Jan 23, 2015 Elizabeth Stephens
Jan 23, 2015 Denise Abel
Jan 23, 2015 Lukas Garcia
Jan 23, 2015 Gabriel Garcia
Jan 23, 2015 Zachary Garcia
Jan 23, 2015 Gudrun Garcia
Jan 23, 2015 jyn dornan-grey
Jan 22, 2015 Brenda Germann
Jan 22, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jan 22, 2015 Philip Brooks
Jan 22, 2015 linda brooks
Jan 22, 2015 bill holt
Jan 22, 2015 Sandra Elly This is just wrong on so many levels. Mans greed is destroying another specie and for what. Like diamonds the monetary worth is blown out of proportion and people and animals die for both.

back to top

Why this ad? Why this ad?
Share this page and help protect habitat: