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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: 71,506
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

Nov 21, 2014 Sophie Fortier
Nov 21, 2014 ruth groeling
Nov 21, 2014 Marion Bennett
Nov 21, 2014 henriette heck
Nov 20, 2014 glen rich
Nov 20, 2014 wendy renshaw
Nov 20, 2014 gloria hernandez
Nov 20, 2014 Deise Cardoso
Nov 20, 2014 Angela Borrows
Nov 20, 2014 karel zdarsky
Nov 20, 2014 Βασιλική Μασούρα
Nov 20, 2014 Ute Ziegler
Nov 20, 2014 Antonia Muller
Nov 20, 2014 Kris Smith
Nov 20, 2014 nikol jan pier
Nov 20, 2014 Lisa Provident
Nov 19, 2014 Rachel Wood
Nov 18, 2014 Selene Mersereau
Nov 18, 2014 anna santini
Nov 17, 2014 Leonie Willis
Nov 17, 2014 Michele Weeks
Nov 17, 2014 Mona Grønbæk
Nov 16, 2014 Anita Andela
Nov 16, 2014 Pat Shannon
Nov 16, 2014 jessica bement
Nov 16, 2014 Tisha Lopez Stop torturing these beautiful creatures from god.
Nov 16, 2014 Kate Anderson, PhD
Nov 16, 2014 Kyila Sninsky This has got to stop!!!!
Nov 16, 2014 E c Case
Nov 16, 2014 Depoorter Michele
Nov 16, 2014 Shantal Ochoa
Nov 16, 2014 ludo van gils
Nov 16, 2014 A. McLeod
Nov 16, 2014 Lois Schreur
Nov 16, 2014 Susan Tinsley Stop killing the elephants. Stop destroying the ecosystem for big bucks!
Nov 15, 2014 Gregory Clifton
Nov 15, 2014 Pam Gardner
Nov 15, 2014 suzanne milliron the greed of people will collapse our world
Nov 15, 2014 Nadia herpoel
Nov 15, 2014 Christine Brearey please stop ivory trade and stop murdering the elephants
Nov 15, 2014 Mary Young
Nov 15, 2014 Ruth Dreyer
Nov 15, 2014 Linda Skelton
Nov 15, 2014 jolanda meier
Nov 15, 2014 juliana vasquez Help the gentle Elephants!!! They need us. Thank you for your help.
Nov 15, 2014 Marianne Muijtjens
Nov 15, 2014 klaas van Santen
Nov 15, 2014 Margarethe Holl
Nov 15, 2014 wilma lagrand

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