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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: 75,457
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

May 24, 2015 Teresa Hamilton
May 24, 2015 Michaela Pautz
May 24, 2015 Nancy Morales
May 24, 2015 Paul Whitfield
May 23, 2015 Maureen Yakus
May 23, 2015 Beatrice Madalina
May 23, 2015 ethan weddle
May 23, 2015 Mercedes DiMaio stop killing these beautiful elephants!!!!!!
May 23, 2015 Heike Werner
May 23, 2015 Dorothy St.Cyr
May 23, 2015 (Name not displayed) We must save these Beautiful ALMIGHTY GOD- GIVEN Animals !!!!
May 23, 2015 Miroslava Vanková
May 23, 2015 Anita Hoos
May 22, 2015 Christina Lockiei
May 22, 2015 kaoli ishida
May 22, 2015 Edna Martin Elephants are a National treasure. Poachers should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!!
May 22, 2015 Paul seeth
May 22, 2015 Silva Kruzic
May 22, 2015 Bea Humphries
May 22, 2015 Connie Harden
May 22, 2015 Sue Dunson-Reggio
May 22, 2015 Chanelle Wilson
May 22, 2015 Robert G WILSON SR
May 22, 2015 Sophie Shanahan It is disgusting that in this day and age, people still think it is acceptable to slaughter animals to the point that they are becoming endangered and extinct. We need to stop this. You can be a force that stands for these magnificent, majestic creatures
May 22, 2015 Diane MacEachern
May 22, 2015 Dayanara Montes De Oca
May 22, 2015 caroline oneal
May 22, 2015 Cheri Allard There is no excuse for slaughtering these intelligent, loving, family-oriented animals. Poachers and anyone caught with ivory and/or selling ivory should be prosecuted and imprisoned!
May 22, 2015 Boris Blagojevic
May 22, 2015 Boris Blagojevic
May 22, 2015 Karen Wolf
May 22, 2015 marisol DOMINGUEZ
May 22, 2015 Kathy Khoshfahm
May 22, 2015 Ilse Peelen
May 22, 2015 Jay Stearns Start slaughtering the Chinese & everyone whose involved if they don't cooperate.
May 22, 2015 Joette Snyder
May 22, 2015 Amanda Holt Elephants are family orientated wonderful beings. Poachers and their customers are not. The world needs elephants. Learn a new trade that is peaceful for all.
May 22, 2015 (Name not displayed)
May 22, 2015 Jeannine Boone
May 22, 2015 Lygea San Pedro
May 22, 2015 Sandra Traum
May 22, 2015 B Wiebe
May 22, 2015 Diana Jones
May 22, 2015 (Name not displayed) We can't keep killing these majestic animals it is barbaric!
May 22, 2015 Ann-Kristine Jakobsen
May 22, 2015 Annette Whillier Please stop this madness :(
May 22, 2015 zab m
May 22, 2015 Judy Stepp

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