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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: 73,101
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

Dec 25, 2014 Miroslava Viveros
Dec 25, 2014 Gina Freitas
Dec 24, 2014 Betty Matlaw
Dec 24, 2014 Melissa Lawrence
Dec 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 24, 2014 Susan Brown
Dec 24, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 24, 2014 Pamela McDonough
Dec 24, 2014 annette florence
Dec 24, 2014 Patti Humphrey
Dec 24, 2014 Rosella Pellegrino Please crack down on the abuse of these wonderful, intelligent animals. The awful way they are treated for their ivory is a tragedy
Dec 24, 2014 María Victoria González El marfil es para nosotros algo decorativo y lujoso, pero para los elefantes es algo totalmente necesario.Basta ya de matar seres inocentes para robar sus colmillos.
Dec 23, 2014 Kay Robinson
Dec 23, 2014 Leah Way
Dec 23, 2014 Kris Lovell
Dec 23, 2014 Sterna Viljoen
Dec 23, 2014 luba Beganovic
Dec 23, 2014 Ernesto Fernandes Please let the few remaining Elephants live freely. Put an end to Ivory importations, please.
Dec 23, 2014 David Murphy
Dec 23, 2014 (Name not displayed)
Dec 23, 2014 Jolene Kennon
Dec 23, 2014 Bella Romain
Dec 23, 2014 Mette Frydenberg
Dec 23, 2014 Karen Burke
Dec 23, 2014 Marilee Urban Living elephants (and Rhinos) more valuable than all the trinkets or even art works made from their ivory.
Dec 23, 2014 Deb Lily
Dec 23, 2014 Ruth Rodriguez
Dec 23, 2014 jeanette wilson
Dec 23, 2014 kim orbell
Dec 23, 2014 Melody Catudal
Dec 23, 2014 Kristina Long
Dec 23, 2014 Konrad Ilgner
Dec 23, 2014 Lucile Levavasseur
Dec 23, 2014 Sharon Reardanz
Dec 23, 2014 Roger West
Dec 23, 2014 jerelyn guedalia
Dec 23, 2014 Cheryl MacKay
Dec 23, 2014 fjolla fejzullahu
Dec 23, 2014 PANIER Stéphanie
Dec 23, 2014 Joan Noyan Elephants are being killed in droves. They are endangered and many babies are being orphaned because of human greed. It must stop.
Dec 23, 2014 Britney Bergum
Dec 23, 2014 (Name not displayed) Enough is enough...Stop this horrible procedure NOW...YOU ARE GREEDY BARBARIANS...I will NEVER EVER buy anything ivory...you should be jailed for the rest of your lousy lives. I hope you go to hell!
Dec 23, 2014 Aleksandra Milosevic
Dec 23, 2014 cate elsten
Dec 23, 2014 debora stock
Dec 23, 2014 Sandra Hallman
Dec 23, 2014 Sharon Minton
Dec 23, 2014 Paul Langseth
Dec 23, 2014 Michelle Pagel Not signing this petition is siding with corruption at its worse. You are telling the devil he has free reign. What happens when that devil turns on you? Would you hope someone would step in to help you?
Dec 23, 2014 Catherine Powalka

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