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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: 90,167
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

Feb 12, 2016 Denise Ketarkus
Feb 12, 2016 Peggy Plummer
Feb 12, 2016 Brandon Danaher
Feb 12, 2016 Nancy Conway
Feb 11, 2016 Terri Sapp
Feb 11, 2016 Elizabeth Freer
Feb 11, 2016 Phyllis Tait
Feb 10, 2016 Christine Esteves ANIMALS LIVES ARE IMPORTANT!
Feb 10, 2016 Kim Petersen There needs to be more attention of this and laws that are enforced.
Feb 10, 2016 (Name not displayed) Please show your country a sense of compassion towards other living beings.
Feb 10, 2016 Jennifer Calvert
Feb 10, 2016 Angelina Schiedel
Feb 10, 2016 Rebecca Fullman
Feb 10, 2016 Shamsiah Ahmad
Feb 9, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 9, 2016 Stacy Williams
Feb 8, 2016 (Name not displayed) All babies are adorable & precious. The ivory trade is barbaric😞
Feb 8, 2016 khenllie david
Feb 8, 2016 Samantha Usher
Feb 8, 2016 anamaria sulugiu
Feb 7, 2016 Susan Leffler
Feb 7, 2016 Pamela Degnan Please save these beautiful animals and stop this senseless killing.
Feb 7, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 7, 2016 Inese Eistere
Feb 6, 2016 Donna Jabillo
Feb 6, 2016 william dobbelaere Totally agree .the killers MUST be stopped
Feb 6, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 5, 2016 Dale Sloat
Feb 5, 2016 Natan Rai
Feb 5, 2016 Dhanu Courault
Feb 3, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Feb 3, 2016 patricia ROY-CAMILLE
Feb 2, 2016 Paola Merlo
Feb 2, 2016 Charlotte Gray
Feb 2, 2016 Donna Bridges Bozeman
Feb 1, 2016 Sandi Sitzler Killing of elephants needs to stop!
Feb 1, 2016 Kian Daniel
Feb 1, 2016 Alice Turlo
Feb 1, 2016 sulo sivam Please end this cruelty to animals !!!!
Feb 1, 2016 Shelley Rollins
Feb 1, 2016 MANDY TUCKER
Feb 1, 2016 Robert Jack
Feb 1, 2016 Monica Guarneri
Feb 1, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jan 31, 2016 Pravina Patel Stop this trade now China
Jan 31, 2016 ina whirlow this is so heart breaking please leave them alone no money is worth their tortue
Jan 31, 2016 Carlynn Hundley I cannot believe this has not stopped. With all the attention it has gotten over the years it seems like there should be more progress...
Jan 31, 2016 Rhoda Coffin
Jan 31, 2016 lisa goudie Please end this corruption. Please protect the elephants please do the right thing for Gods animals
Jan 31, 2016 Cheryl Ingersoll Please stop the cruelty to beloved elephants and all animals!

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