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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: 76,186
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

Aug 2, 2015 Charity messer
Aug 2, 2015 Rose wrolen
Aug 2, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 1, 2015 Anne Somma
Aug 1, 2015 Susan Krauss We must Boycott Travel and imports if this Horrific Ivory Trade and Organized Crime and Cruel and Inhumane Hunting of ELEPHANTS does not Cease!
Aug 1, 2015 Jennifer Collins
Aug 1, 2015 kristi michielsen
Aug 1, 2015 Millie Mondragon
Aug 1, 2015 Kelly Middy
Aug 1, 2015 Laura Pessell If it's not illegal, then make it so. If it already is, then enforce your own laws before the animals become extinct. Thank you
Aug 1, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 1, 2015 Susanne Kanzler
Aug 1, 2015 Sarah League
Aug 1, 2015 Linda Parr Yes, we are on a roll now and it is all thanks to the brave lion called Cecil, another magnificent beast. PLEASE leave all animals alone and stop taking Elephants tusks to make money (when you die, you cannot take money with you) but past actions will be.
Jul 31, 2015 Kristi Hawk
Jul 31, 2015 Sharon Girouard
Jul 31, 2015 Crystal Davis Poor Creatures<3
Jul 31, 2015 cindy combs
Jul 31, 2015 Tanya Beames
Jul 31, 2015 DOUG SNYDER
Jul 31, 2015 kayla walsh
Jul 31, 2015 Ari Schwartz
Jul 31, 2015 Leslie Martin
Jul 31, 2015 kevin singer
Jul 31, 2015 Mary Johnson
Jul 31, 2015 Robert Thorne
Jul 31, 2015 Senada Selimovic
Jul 31, 2015 Linda Raatz
Jul 31, 2015 Leslie Patterson
Jul 31, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 31, 2015 Janet Swails These beautiful, intelligent creatures are in danger of extinction due to our uncontrolled creed and cruelty. I will NEVER buy or use ivory for any purpose, and I hope that others will adopt the same stance.
Jul 30, 2015 DiAnn Douglas End the senseless killing !
Jul 30, 2015 Kathy Holland
Jul 30, 2015 J Ramirez
Jul 30, 2015 Debra Watts Knowing now that the behavior of any elephant, knowing that they mourn for lost family members, knowing they are intelligent, loving creatures why is it okay to kill them? Would you want someone killing your family for sport? For profit? Think about it!
Jul 30, 2015 Sherry Spurling
Jul 30, 2015 Monique Franz
Jul 30, 2015 melissa scott This is a true abomination.
Jul 30, 2015 Alison Entler
Jul 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2015 Debbie Cornell
Jul 30, 2015 julie leonardson
Jul 30, 2015 Cynthia Rogers
Jul 30, 2015 Jacqueline Malone
Jul 30, 2015 Jaye Wagner
Jul 30, 2015 Mary Rose Sarja
Jul 30, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Jul 30, 2015 Sharon Heslin
Jul 30, 2015 Annette Gable We MUST STOP this senseless trophy and trinkets collection of the killing of these beautiful animals before they become extinct This is an abomination in the sight of GOD and those that love all animals.
Jul 30, 2015 Julie Binder

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