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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: 68,332
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

Aug 29, 2014 Sally Clayton Please do everything you can to stop the slaughter of these intelligent, emotional and majestic creatures
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed) STOP THE SLAUGHTERING OF ELEPHANTS FOR IVORY!!
Aug 29, 2014 Janet Zaccarelli We should all boycott anything made of ivory!
Aug 29, 2014 Camille Johnson
Aug 29, 2014 Nancy Counter Only you can prevent this atrocity, stop buying, not even ivory antiques.
Aug 29, 2014 Christine Zimmerman
Aug 29, 2014 Janet Anderson
Aug 29, 2014 B. Goheen
Aug 29, 2014 Caitlin McGuire
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Betty Pierce
Aug 29, 2014 sherry compton Enough, stop this crime it's senseless!
Aug 29, 2014 Richard Leliaert
Aug 29, 2014 Theresa Canavan
Aug 29, 2014 Betty Wilde It is the 21st century. Stop using ivory.
Aug 29, 2014 steven ficsor
Aug 29, 2014 wayne gallas
Aug 29, 2014 Carole Osborn
Aug 29, 2014 Clara Clark The world needs elephants not more crap carved out of ivory to sit on tables and collect dust.
Aug 29, 2014 Anne Herd Forward thinking and humanitarian countries do not slaughter these animals. Stop this now and change how the rest of the world already think of your country
Aug 29, 2014 Courtney Reeser
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Jo Pretorius
Aug 29, 2014 LaDene Mayville Killing of elephants must stop or these intelligent, marvelous creatures will only be a memory. We are robbing future generations of enjoying their beauty as well.
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Dina Kaye
Aug 29, 2014 Trisha Menard
Aug 29, 2014 Lawrence Fisher
Aug 29, 2014 Jennifer Pope Don't let your country be responsible for the disappearance of these magnificent animals. You do not want to lose face with the rest of the world that way.
Aug 29, 2014 Trisha George
Aug 29, 2014 Sharon Westerfelt Outrageous treatment of magnificent creatures for senseless, mercenary reasons. Proving once again how the human race is declining in thought and spirit! Ivory can be simulated - elephants cannot!!!!! Stop it NOW!
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Iris Sinai
Aug 29, 2014 Sandra Bowerman
Aug 29, 2014 Judy Krach
Aug 29, 2014 Tracy Levine
Aug 29, 2014 Martha Murray Stop killing elephants!
Aug 29, 2014 Yvonne Williams Please do all you can to help save and protect these majestic, sentient gifts for generations to come. Before it's too late.
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Amy Süter
Aug 29, 2014 JC Platt
Aug 29, 2014 Danae Michael There is no place for such brutality and that type of "commerce". You are responsible and your children will come to learn that you perpetuated the extinction.
Aug 29, 2014 Joann Evans
Aug 29, 2014 Nikki Dayton
Aug 29, 2014 Loraine Hudelson
Aug 29, 2014 John Stoddard
Aug 29, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2014 Elaine Hall
Aug 29, 2014 Mary Ethel Kabisch
Aug 29, 2014 mary currie

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