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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: 75,877
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

Jun 30, 2015 Patricia C. Rohan
Jun 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 29, 2015 Juliet Textor
Jun 29, 2015 frances cornejo
Jun 29, 2015 Roberto Cipolla
Jun 29, 2015 Elizabeth Ignatuk Elephants are highly intelligent, social animals, and they are being destroyed for silly trinkets. Please stop the ivory trade before we lose all our wonderful elephants forever!
Jun 29, 2015 Mati Charu
Jun 29, 2015 Majbritt Engbo Nielsen
Jun 28, 2015 Alicja Bożek
Jun 27, 2015 paula carlson
Jun 27, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 27, 2015 Tiphaine Le Baron
Jun 27, 2015 Fatiha Nasri
Jun 27, 2015 nari gottlieb
Jun 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 26, 2015 Tracy Potter
Jun 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jun 26, 2015 Eva Lee
Jun 25, 2015 Linda Archer
Jun 25, 2015 bonita rhodes
Jun 25, 2015 Kim Decker
Jun 25, 2015 Nuno Miguel Vocals
Jun 25, 2015 VIVIAN HILL
Jun 25, 2015 Birgitt Böhm URGENT!!!!
Jun 25, 2015 Marco Baracca
Jun 25, 2015 Meredith Fjelsted
Jun 25, 2015 sherry goodrich
Jun 25, 2015 Kerttu Ihalainen
Jun 25, 2015 Baagheera An
Jun 24, 2015 W. Thoma
Jun 24, 2015 Becky Litwiler
Jun 24, 2015 Jennifer Rudner These people need to be given one piece of lead between the eyes!!!
Jun 24, 2015 Ana María Valencia
Jun 24, 2015 Paul A
Jun 24, 2015 Ilse Ronnberg
Jun 24, 2015 robert james weiss
Jun 24, 2015 Catharina Bajric
Jun 24, 2015 Joanne Thompson
Jun 24, 2015 MANUELA Micheli
Jun 24, 2015 Rita Wolff
Jun 24, 2015 Tonya Green
Jun 23, 2015 Miffy Pittaway Elephants are Majestic Gentle Giants & we must globally protect them & bring in a legalisation in to protect them from illegal ivory slaughtering & save these Stunning creatures our Precious remaining Elephants from extinction:)
Jun 23, 2015 Amy Ziegler
Jun 23, 2015 Sanam Hedayat
Jun 23, 2015 Bailey Pedersen Elephants are valuable, and we need them as a part of the ecosystem of Africa. However, the entire market, legal or illegal, poses a threat to both us and the elephants. This market is a tumor. Let's cut it out entirely.
Jun 23, 2015 lynn matarelli
Jun 23, 2015 Suzanne Haley
Jun 23, 2015 Celina Silva
Jun 23, 2015 Regina Ferrell

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