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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: 74,674
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

Mar 26, 2015 Kim Walsh Please Stop The Slaughter Of All Elephants This Is Cruel and Inhumane
Mar 26, 2015 lucienne filippi
Mar 26, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 25, 2015 melissa sherman This is so heartbreaking...elephants are by far the most loving and intelligent creatures...this has to stop 😭
Mar 25, 2015 john Lutz
Mar 25, 2015 ann-louise kehoe
Mar 25, 2015 Renate Gärtner
Mar 25, 2015 Mary Gedert
Mar 25, 2015 sonia sam ELEPHANTS ARE GODS
Mar 25, 2015 karen lesch
Mar 24, 2015 Holly Balch
Mar 24, 2015 senem Birinci
Mar 24, 2015 Deja Brown
Mar 24, 2015 Shelley Smith
Mar 24, 2015 Alafair v
Mar 24, 2015 Deanna Davidson
Mar 24, 2015 Stanley Fistick
Mar 24, 2015 L F
Mar 24, 2015 Julia Hood
Mar 24, 2015 Jinny Nerlinger
Mar 24, 2015 nicole Dewit
Mar 24, 2015 Anneke Saayman
Mar 24, 2015 Bogna Komar
Mar 23, 2015 Traci philliips
Mar 23, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 23, 2015 Debra King-Ferro
Mar 23, 2015 mike popowski
Mar 23, 2015 Emanuela Verso
Mar 23, 2015 Kimberly Ellis-Guysick Please do not allow further destruction of these elephants for ivory or any other use. Having these animals in the wild can encourage tourism for those who wish to observe these majestic animals in the wild.
Mar 23, 2015 Mark Van den Eynde
Mar 23, 2015 Beth Matlock
Mar 23, 2015 Sherry Zia
Mar 23, 2015 carolina esteve
Mar 23, 2015 Livia Venturini
Mar 23, 2015 Alexander Albelin Save the elephants
Mar 22, 2015 Marcia Ditieri Please stop the ivory trade now before elephants and other species of animals become extinct
Mar 22, 2015 Ilona Frisch
Mar 21, 2015 Dennis Moses Gostev Elephants ain't ours to cut off their tusks.
Mar 21, 2015 Emilio Morales
Mar 21, 2015 Jodie Richers
Mar 21, 2015 demi anderson
Mar 21, 2015 vautrin noelle
Mar 21, 2015 Anna Rincon
Mar 21, 2015 Angelika T.
Mar 21, 2015 Magdalena Dr.med.Schütz
Mar 20, 2015 Sue Wilson
Mar 20, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Mar 20, 2015 Judith Rasor Please stop poaching of these beautiful creatures!! We do not want to lose them forever. They must be treated as if they are made of gold and stop killing them for their tusks.

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