Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 100,000 Progress: 95,715
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.

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

Jan 12, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jan 11, 2018 Marta Rohrback
Jan 8, 2018 carol bodiford
Jan 5, 2018 Deborah Bell
Jan 4, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jan 2, 2018 Alysa Waring
Dec 30, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Dec 27, 2017 Susan Borski
Dec 21, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Dec 20, 2017 Mary Clausing
Dec 19, 2017 T.J. Pitts
Dec 18, 2017 michel guillou
Dec 18, 2017 Lydia Benoist
Dec 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Dec 3, 2017 Eden Lebranchu this needs to be stopped !!
Dec 1, 2017 Maria Parsons Please stop this horrible and torturous means of obtaining ivory. It is simply WRONG! Thank you!!!
Nov 25, 2017 Karrie Vukelic
Nov 23, 2017 Kevin Graves Allow hunting once elephant populations recover; that's sound wildlife management. For now, ban any activity supporting elephant hunting.
Nov 22, 2017 Harry Symons
Nov 20, 2017 patricia remollino
Nov 20, 2017 (Name not displayed) I'm against animal cruelty, abuse, neglect, & extinction.
Nov 19, 2017 Elise McCoubrie
Nov 19, 2017 Stacey Govito
Nov 18, 2017 Karen Durst This is a disgrace to a beautiful animal and there is no need for this to happen.
Nov 18, 2017 Jan Grave
Nov 18, 2017 Jamie Zepp
Nov 17, 2017 Valarie Hawley
Nov 17, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 17, 2017 Deanna Trott
Nov 17, 2017 Claudia McGuire
Nov 17, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 17, 2017 Donna Mercier A rich mans game or pleasure???
Nov 17, 2017 Martina Maida
Nov 17, 2017 Julie Keys The elephants must be saved we cannot survive ourselves if we continue to wipe out other inhabitants of this planet
Nov 17, 2017 (Name not displayed) Elephants are important to the ecological balance.
Nov 17, 2017 Steve Cox End this barbaric and pointless slaughter of innocent animals NOW.
Nov 17, 2017 René Larsen
Nov 17, 2017 Bettina Wenk
Nov 17, 2017 Amanda Braun
Nov 17, 2017 Janice Gildow
Nov 17, 2017 Olivier Koch Just Stop It Now !!!
Nov 17, 2017 Snjezana Birsic Takvam
Nov 17, 2017 Debra Dzioba
Nov 17, 2017 Tania Derck
Nov 17, 2017 Barry Vinton
Nov 17, 2017 Sandra Rada
Nov 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Nov 16, 2017 (Name not displayed)

back to top

Winter Apparel Blowout
Wise in Love Owl Keychain
Share this page and help protect habitat: