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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: 70,547
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 23, 2014 J S
Oct 23, 2014 saleena davidson STOP THE CRUELTY.
Oct 22, 2014 Denise Payne
Oct 22, 2014 Clarette Wenta
Oct 22, 2014 Cheryl May
Oct 22, 2014 Lenka Mašková
Oct 22, 2014 Brian Mahon
Oct 21, 2014 Suzanne Dostert
Oct 21, 2014 Zixuan He
Oct 21, 2014 nancy Theodore
Oct 21, 2014 Karen Lamb
Oct 21, 2014 Anna Clavin
Oct 21, 2014 Valeria Cervellati
Oct 21, 2014 Marianne Garau
Oct 21, 2014 dawn harper
Oct 21, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 20, 2014 Evelyn Leal
Oct 20, 2014 Selma Akkus
Oct 20, 2014 Megan Garofalo
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 20, 2014 Cinzia Romagnoli
Oct 20, 2014 Michèle krebs coulleret
Oct 20, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please stop killing elephants for ivory.
Oct 20, 2014 federica grassi
Oct 20, 2014 Rachel Trent
Oct 19, 2014 noe ochoa
Oct 19, 2014 Jack and Margarita Denman
Oct 19, 2014 Melissa Braun
Oct 19, 2014 Heather Priori
Oct 19, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 19, 2014 Deanna Filippinetti
Oct 19, 2014 carolyn galluzzo
Oct 19, 2014 mariska wissink
Oct 19, 2014 Robin Parkes
Oct 19, 2014 Marion HARUKAZE
Oct 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 18, 2014 (Name not displayed) Why kill just a beautiful animal for its ivory. Each animal has a purpose on this earth and killing it for its ivory is not one of them. So please stop this senseless murder because that is what it is.
Oct 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 18, 2014 Penny Keddie
Oct 18, 2014 dale eynon please stop this terrible trade in ivory no value no money is the way to go also much much heavier penalties
Oct 18, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please stop hurting these innocent animals!!
Oct 18, 2014 matthew ramos
Oct 18, 2014 andrew kaplan your country is the worst of the worst in so many ways elephants rhinos tigers, seahorses on and on global warming polluting or oceans with no restrictions wake up its shame full
Oct 18, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Oct 18, 2014 BARRY HAYES
Oct 18, 2014 Carol Rahbari
Oct 18, 2014 L. P.
Oct 18, 2014 Kristen Corey
Oct 18, 2014 laura bennett
Oct 18, 2014 Glenna Harris

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