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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 94,952
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 24, 2017 Romain Rolland
Feb 23, 2017 Sheila See
Feb 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 23, 2017 Katerina Pronin
Feb 23, 2017 mary windebank
Feb 23, 2017 ulla lobbe
Feb 23, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 22, 2017 Maureen Oliver Borquez
Feb 22, 2017 Ann Moseley
Feb 22, 2017 joy Edwards
Feb 22, 2017 Rick Hodorowich
Feb 22, 2017 Brendan Weldon-Beltz Mahatma Gandhi said, "The greatness and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Africa has to protect its animals that are being trophy hunted or butchered by greed for their body parts. Extinction is forever.
Feb 22, 2017 brigitte tricot
Feb 22, 2017 Jerry Gilmore
Feb 22, 2017 Jamie Folweiler
Feb 22, 2017 Ginette Collerette
Feb 22, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 22, 2017 Sharon McCluskey
Feb 22, 2017 Waltraud Buckland
Feb 22, 2017 Catherine Hesnan
Feb 22, 2017 Nicole Schmid
Feb 22, 2017 Julia Lisa
Feb 22, 2017 Elaine Green
Feb 22, 2017 Marion Krüger
Feb 22, 2017 Veronique DeAngelo
Feb 22, 2017 karla castilleja
Feb 22, 2017 Linda Rhoades
Feb 22, 2017 Debra Wills
Feb 22, 2017 Diane Sterner
Feb 22, 2017 Jameson Sachs
Feb 22, 2017 Alson Sachs
Feb 22, 2017 Andreas Sachs
Feb 22, 2017 Erika Fromme
Feb 22, 2017 Sinje Fromme-Sachs
Feb 22, 2017 Dawn Orahood
Feb 22, 2017 Loralei Nader
Feb 22, 2017 Jean-Pierre Bienvenu
Feb 22, 2017 Marilyn Decarle
Feb 22, 2017 Connie Roland
Feb 22, 2017 Sharon Longmire
Feb 22, 2017 smith Sane
Feb 22, 2017 susan cassese Elephants are wonderful, and very family oriented animals..Please stop this hideous killing
Feb 22, 2017 Monica Corado
Feb 22, 2017 Rachel Bose
Feb 22, 2017 Susie Halmos
Feb 22, 2017 Gladys Chardon
Feb 22, 2017 Tracey Sands
Feb 22, 2017 Mary Bowlby
Feb 22, 2017 Lisa Miller STOP this cruel act to these sweet animals!!!!!
Feb 22, 2017 Michèle Pouget

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