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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 94,207
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.

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

Oct 28, 2016 Ann Douglas
Oct 28, 2016 (Name not displayed) Thank you in advance for your efforts to curtail the cruel decimation of this magnificent population of creatures and taking a humane stand on this issue.
Oct 28, 2016 Perry Matlock
Oct 28, 2016 Stephen Abarno
Oct 28, 2016 Maria Miranda
Oct 28, 2016 jackie lewthwaite
Oct 28, 2016 Terri Dumala
Oct 28, 2016 Janice E. Farry-Menke
Oct 28, 2016 Anna King templeton
Oct 28, 2016 Pam Novotny "Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man himself will not know peace." Albert Schweitzer said it all.
Oct 28, 2016 Lee Fister Lets save these beautiful animals stop the killing in the name of Jesus! let them live for all of us & our children to enjoy! don't kill but let live!!!!
Oct 28, 2016 Shannon Hill
Oct 28, 2016 Christina Bingham
Oct 28, 2016 Vicki Coiro
Oct 28, 2016 Margit Steidl The elephant is the only living being needing ivory - the own teeth!
Oct 28, 2016 Liz Calderón Debemos proteger a los animales de nosotros mismos somos la mayor amenaza para ellos
Oct 28, 2016 Janelle Hedges
Oct 28, 2016 Brian Pike
Oct 28, 2016 Carol Ellis
Oct 28, 2016 maureen coakes
Oct 28, 2016 Ethel Jenkins
Oct 28, 2016 Maelie Bugat
Oct 28, 2016 Elvira Trebesius
Oct 28, 2016 Debbie Biggard
Oct 28, 2016 Kim Salmi
Oct 28, 2016 Karin Knapp
Oct 28, 2016 Bea Klarmann
Oct 28, 2016 Roxanne Dropp
Oct 28, 2016 Christine Dobson
Oct 28, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 27, 2016 Catherine Cerny
Oct 27, 2016 Laura Valentine
Oct 26, 2016 Carol Polak
Oct 26, 2016 sher austi
Oct 26, 2016 Kim Taylor
Oct 26, 2016 OSVALDO TOMAS
Oct 26, 2016 Donna DeBroux
Oct 26, 2016 Susan Corral
Oct 26, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Oct 25, 2016 karen arhart
Oct 25, 2016 Ann B
Oct 24, 2016 Juliann Wickliffe How can you kill these beautiful creatures for such selfish reasons ??? They are a gift to us to protect. Do you have children that you can tell I extinguished these,?????when I could have made a difference.
Oct 24, 2016 Heather Burns
Oct 23, 2016 Melissa Allen
Oct 22, 2016 Janice LittleJohn This HAS to STOP! Don't poachers and big game hunters understand what EXTINCT means?
Oct 21, 2016 Dilnora Gouliamova
Oct 21, 2016 bobbie wright
Oct 20, 2016 Muriel Servaege
Oct 20, 2016 Alexandra Cordeiro

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