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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: 71,130
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 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Yves Garin
Oct 31, 2014 lisa butler they are only beautiful when they're alive! They were put here to be alive the same as humankind! So much to learn from their graceful walk in this life, please let them live!
Oct 31, 2014 Tamera West
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Sheila Robertson
Oct 31, 2014 Suzanne Pals
Oct 31, 2014 doreen farley
Oct 31, 2014 Shari Martin
Oct 31, 2014 Caryl Melnick
Oct 31, 2014 Sonia Lopez
Oct 31, 2014 ruth hingston
Oct 31, 2014 Tina McNees You must stop and find a better way to make a living. I'm sure there are other options, other then killing animals!!
Oct 31, 2014 nancy Mitchell
Oct 31, 2014 Catriona Balsdon
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Morgan Bono
Oct 31, 2014 Evelyne Kefer
Oct 31, 2014 Charlotte Green
Oct 31, 2014 geoff whittles
Oct 31, 2014 Scott Steele This has to stop
Oct 31, 2014 Junko Matsushita
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 Lori Meeden
Oct 31, 2014 Natalie Jaques
Oct 31, 2014 John Vincent
Oct 31, 2014 Sharon Doyle
Oct 31, 2014 Jessica Story The thirst China has for endangered wild animals, is NOT acceptable! In fact it is completely immoral!
Oct 31, 2014 Paula Young horrible!!! how can anyone do this to such beautiful animals! ๐Ÿ˜ž๐Ÿ˜ฉ
Oct 31, 2014 Cecilia varga
Oct 31, 2014 marion riordan Stop the greed and save the elephants !!!
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please don't let this happen. Elephants are the only ones who should wear ivory.
Oct 31, 2014 Ali Van Zee
Oct 31, 2014 Sally Fry
Oct 31, 2014 Dana Brezina
Oct 31, 2014 Rosalind Collier Selling ivory merely encourages more killing.
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please stop
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 rebecca Lewison-white
Oct 31, 2014 Justin DiNardo
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 31, 2014 dr vipul dave
Oct 31, 2014 nancy roane
Oct 31, 2014 Sarah Beale
Oct 31, 2014 Susan Moyer
Oct 31, 2014 maria maher
Oct 31, 2014 (Name not displayed) please save the elephants

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