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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: 67,828
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

Jul 31, 2014 Jonathan harmsen
Jul 31, 2014 Janine Taylor
Jul 31, 2014 Randall Evans If we love ourselves then we've gotta take care of our earth. This starts with taking care of all animals and their ecosystems.
Jul 31, 2014 Sharon Beaulieu
Jul 31, 2014 Krisha Grisz
Jul 31, 2014 Kim Patterson
Jul 31, 2014 darren hartell
Jul 31, 2014 Sandra Stalmans
Jul 31, 2014 Niousha Naderi
Jul 31, 2014 carole bouché
Jul 31, 2014 barbara navarro
Jul 31, 2014 shana Smith
Jul 31, 2014 Annette Frykberg LOVE for all life <3
Jul 31, 2014 Ruzica Parsons
Jul 31, 2014 ADAM ANDREI stop
Jul 31, 2014 Cecilia Robinson Stop the cruelty!
Jul 31, 2014 james blanchard
Jul 31, 2014 pap crowley
Jul 31, 2014 Jannine Scatterty Le-Vahn
Jul 31, 2014 Jill Harris
Jul 31, 2014 Katia Duverglas Such a shame : stop this genocide
Jul 31, 2014 Kelli Alimenti
Jul 31, 2014 Balvinder Sandhu Please stop killing poor elephants
Jul 31, 2014 Paramjit Aulakh Please have mercy on elephants
Jul 31, 2014 Navdeep Sandhu Please end this cruel trade
Jul 31, 2014 Jackie Ricca
Jul 31, 2014 Peggy Lieber
Jul 31, 2014 Monika Vidljinović
Jul 31, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2014 Patricia Gilpin
Jul 31, 2014 Maria Dimitropoulou
Jul 31, 2014 Katrinia Rindsberg
Jul 31, 2014 Winifred Tonione China has to ban ALL ivory sale once and for all.The rate of demand means extinction for the elephant in as little as ten years--please educate your people,that there is no sustainable method of harvest, and no "nonsavage" method of killing the elephant!
Jul 31, 2014 Tem Munsiff
Jul 30, 2014 Lindsey Leighton
Jul 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2014 Shinobu Fukushima
Jul 30, 2014 Kim Hockman
Jul 30, 2014 marisa acuna
Jul 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2014 (Name not displayed) Please stop the slaughter of these gentle and intelligent creatures.
Jul 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2014 Tina Capagli
Jul 30, 2014 Jean Naples We must employ every measure to help elephants to survive.
Jul 30, 2014 Julia Russo
Jul 30, 2014 Sandra Cornell Such smart and noble animals! We must all do our part to save the remaining herds and encourage their reproduction.
Jul 30, 2014 info 145 WE NEED ELEPHANTS http://www.newser.com/story/159066/50-a-cup-coffee-made-from-poop.html
Jul 30, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2014 Deborah Lewis

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