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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: 74,981
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

Apr 20, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 19, 2015 marcel truyts
Apr 19, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 19, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 19, 2015 maria cristina palla
Apr 18, 2015 Rita Jimenez
Apr 18, 2015 Lucia Scarpati
Apr 18, 2015 Robnett Romero
Apr 17, 2015 Fernando Daniel Reati
Apr 17, 2015 Charlene Sipe Please use your power and influence to help stop the cruel, senseless slaughter of these intelligent and gentle creatures. Without China's protection, this amazing species faces extinction just so foolish, selfish people may have decorations and jewelry.
Apr 17, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 17, 2015 yasuo nishiyama
Apr 17, 2015 Silvia Capell
Apr 16, 2015 darcie traynor
Apr 16, 2015 Igor Balint
Apr 16, 2015 Jenny Feuchter
Apr 16, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 16, 2015 Sandra Huth Please stop this barbaric trade!!
Apr 16, 2015 SHANIDA Ahmad
Apr 16, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 16, 2015 Elvira Dixon
Apr 16, 2015 Corinne Ogren-Engeli
Apr 16, 2015 Thea Freeman
Apr 15, 2015 dana mc devitt
Apr 15, 2015 Laurie Piper
Apr 15, 2015 Sabine Anderson
Apr 15, 2015 Nikki Haynes
Apr 15, 2015 KIMBERLY ZHUO
Apr 15, 2015 Anneline Bacon
Apr 15, 2015 yvette soberon
Apr 15, 2015 Karen Trainor
Apr 15, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 15, 2015 Glenn Nappi
Apr 15, 2015 ross mat
Apr 15, 2015 Maria Charu
Apr 15, 2015 isabel sleiman
Apr 15, 2015 Thomaz de Aquino Alves Fonseca
Apr 15, 2015 JoanElizabeth Weston end ivory trade make it illegal
Apr 15, 2015 janine lourenço
Apr 15, 2015 R Butcher
Apr 15, 2015 Veronica Goidanich
Apr 15, 2015 Tony gibson
Apr 15, 2015 Fiona Kangataran Please stop the perpetual violence and injustice against these animals. They need our help!
Apr 15, 2015 cathy Anderson
Apr 15, 2015 Nada Bensreiti
Apr 15, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Apr 15, 2015 Suzanne Smith
Apr 15, 2015 Mary Wickett Stop this insane slaughter of and endangered species. No amount of ivory is worth the death of even one of these elephants.
Apr 15, 2015 Lynda Grove
Apr 15, 2015 Monika Alcorn

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