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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: 84,403
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 29, 2015 Marlena Merkt
Aug 29, 2015 Natalie Ott
Aug 29, 2015 Claudia Cerutti
Aug 29, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 29, 2015 Gian Paolo Agagliati
Aug 28, 2015 Jean Aldridge Elephants look better decorated with their own ivory. Stop poaching these majestic creatures to decorate your body. It looks much better on them.
Aug 28, 2015 Kathy Bommarito Stop this horrible trade.
Aug 28, 2015 Pam Bravo
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed) Please help!
Aug 28, 2015 Christie Rawls
Aug 28, 2015 Linda Costa
Aug 28, 2015 Barbara Borah
Aug 28, 2015 Susan Krauss
Aug 28, 2015 Sharon Noll
Aug 28, 2015 Vikke Baron It would be nice if the Chinese fueling the demand for the extinction of many wildlife species would develop a sense of ethics & appreciate the big picture, beyond their selfish immediate needs of illicit gratification.
Aug 28, 2015 Patricia Scott
Aug 28, 2015 Laura Locke
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 N.C. Morey ANIMALS MATTER
Aug 28, 2015 Kathryn Long
Aug 28, 2015 Elaine Lane
Aug 28, 2015 Eva Cannon
Aug 28, 2015 Sara Evans
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 Vickey Baker
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 Mary Holomy
Aug 28, 2015 Dianna Britting
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed)
Aug 28, 2015 kathleen shabaan
Aug 28, 2015 Norma Sutcliffe
Aug 28, 2015 Jennifer Johnson
Aug 28, 2015 Martie Crone
Aug 28, 2015 Richard Wood
Aug 28, 2015 Vicky Bevis Please show the world that China is a 1st. World-Class Country & do NOT be the reason elephants become extinct. Thank You!
Aug 28, 2015 Donna Gray
Aug 28, 2015 (Name not displayed) SET AN EXAMPLE AND LEAD THE WAY!!! YOUR COOPERATION IS VITAL!!!!
Aug 28, 2015 Barbara Good
Aug 28, 2015 James Parsons
Aug 28, 2015 Sandy Miller
Aug 28, 2015 Sherry Brown
Aug 28, 2015 marian c. I want all animals to be safe and happy. No one should be hunting any animal for sport!!!!! Put those people in jail whom use the ivory in their everyday lives. No animal should suffer to make trinkets. I applaud those dogs for protecting our wildlife
Aug 28, 2015 Andrea Fleck
Aug 28, 2015 Marie Koch Ivory is not needed by people, it is needed by the animals it was taken from. Save the animals, make poaching a losing proposition!
Aug 28, 2015 Linda Phillips
Aug 28, 2015 C Crane
Aug 28, 2015 Sandy Hosier Ambassador Tiankai, please do everything you can to stop this horrific act. Humans have no need for ivory, only the elephants do.
Aug 28, 2015 Linda White
Aug 28, 2015 Sylvia Plavnick
Aug 28, 2015 Anna Marie De Leo Who purchases ivory? Who displays ivory? Perhaps a list should be created of these "middle class" buyers. They're are the reason for the end of a species. Please boycott all products of china.

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