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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: 75,213
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

May 4, 2015 Kevin Mawhinney
May 4, 2015 Brigid Atwater
May 4, 2015 valerie pelletier
May 3, 2015 Rachel Curwen
May 3, 2015 Luis Gustavo Sánchez Verduzco
May 3, 2015 Steven Dugdale
May 3, 2015 adrienne lp
May 2, 2015 Jacqueline Schalk
May 2, 2015 Kim Knott
May 2, 2015 kim binker Please educate your people to understand there is 0 health benefits in Ivory.
May 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 2, 2015 Dee Roberts
May 2, 2015 Rebecca Stevens I can't stand this!!! It hurts my heart !!!
May 2, 2015 Lydia Norton
May 2, 2015 Megan Burns
May 1, 2015 Irene Sougleris
May 1, 2015 Bridget Lindsay
May 1, 2015 Patrycja Wydra
May 1, 2015 Chad Vanden Bush
May 1, 2015 Sylvia Piche Please stop the senseless slaughter of innocent animals. Ivory doesn't cure anything!
May 1, 2015 Scottie Baugh
May 1, 2015 Tina Frier
May 1, 2015 Sandra Keswick
May 1, 2015 Darlene TerMarsch
May 1, 2015 Doretta Hogan
May 1, 2015 Brigitte Devresse
May 1, 2015 Stephen Lafferty
May 1, 2015 dawn Lafferty
May 1, 2015 Julie Revell
May 1, 2015 Keshia Lawlor-Reed
May 1, 2015 george rotan
May 1, 2015 solomente valle
May 1, 2015 solomente valle
May 1, 2015 (Name not displayed) #killthetrade
May 1, 2015 Petra Farmer
May 1, 2015 Lindsey Jett
May 1, 2015 Carol Wood
May 1, 2015 Hayley Bryan
May 1, 2015 Nicole Stuckert
May 1, 2015 jeff williams sickening
May 1, 2015 Lynne MacGregor It's about time that all animals had our protection!! we are the animals that on earth that cannot seem to live harmoniously with other species it's shocking. It must stop!! If not now when??
May 1, 2015 Finn Byrne-Battell
May 1, 2015 Vera Bures
May 1, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 1, 2015 Elise Bakker Kill your family and pull out their teeth. How does that feel...!
May 1, 2015 (Name not displayed) Ivory is ONLY for elephants. Stop being selfish and thinking the planet is yours to pillage.
May 1, 2015 hannah Domingo
May 1, 2015 carol lee .... before it's too late !
May 1, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 1, 2015 Christoph Prieller

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