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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: 70,971
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 30, 2014 christine obrien
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 Judith Bergdorf
Oct 30, 2014 Jenai Freng
Oct 30, 2014 Richie Donegan
Oct 30, 2014 Birgit Born
Oct 30, 2014 Samantha cross
Oct 30, 2014 Lilian Weiss If these people aspire after membership in the civilized part of the world they have to stop this outrageous cruelty. I already avoid buying products from such countries.
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 30, 2014 Bonnie Keever This is awful it needs to stop now
Oct 30, 2014 jane rhodus there must be a wonderful replacement that does NOT require destroying an animal!!!
Oct 30, 2014 Thomas Bruso Let's end this monstrosity!
Oct 30, 2014 Renee Kelly
Oct 30, 2014 Amy Williams
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed) Need to stop this savageness.
Oct 30, 2014 Carol Robinson
Oct 30, 2014 Darrion Smile
Oct 30, 2014 Belinda Viljoen
Oct 30, 2014 dianne pantino
Oct 30, 2014 Gena Terry
Oct 30, 2014 Tammy taylor
Oct 30, 2014 Laura Jensen
Oct 30, 2014 Rachel McLeod
Oct 30, 2014 pil christine
Oct 30, 2014 Sara McCarthy
Oct 30, 2014 LeAnn Craddock
Oct 30, 2014 jamie pitter about time
Oct 30, 2014 Nicole Risberg
Oct 30, 2014 Paul Judges Please protect elephants before it is too late!
Oct 30, 2014 josie andrews
Oct 30, 2014 reed birnel Please save these wild Elephants, from extinction?
Oct 30, 2014 Daizee-Mae Hensley
Oct 30, 2014 Ben & Judy Rose Good luck with this, & I mean it in the most sincere way. Is there any hope of changing the culture? I sometimes wonder, but will continue to sign everything that comes my way.
Oct 30, 2014 Anthony Christy Recognise that all sentient beings—people, animals, and even insects—are just like us, in their basic motivation to experience peace and to avoid suffering!!
Oct 30, 2014 Linda DeLaquil
Oct 30, 2014 Deborah Schmitz
Oct 30, 2014 Nikhil Rao help these majestic creatures please
Oct 30, 2014 carrie collins
Oct 30, 2014 mariamne wulfn
Oct 30, 2014 caroline davis
Oct 30, 2014 Lisa Fontes
Oct 30, 2014 Arleen Sattler Please save the elephants
Oct 30, 2014 Evie gkanatsiou
Oct 30, 2014 Tracey Lister
Oct 30, 2014 Bethe Jankelson Ivory trade is unsustainable! !! Quit it!!!
Oct 30, 2014 Linda Linn
Oct 30, 2014 Daina Eislers
Oct 30, 2014 birgit cuyvers
Oct 30, 2014 (Name not displayed) Save the elephants
Oct 30, 2014 Julie Pero

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