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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 95,423
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

Jul 26, 2017 Tuck Wurzbacher
Jul 25, 2017 Yola Stavridou China must be stopped !
Jul 24, 2017 Kerry Gunby
Jul 24, 2017 William Tarbox
Jul 23, 2017 Sandra Williamson
Jul 22, 2017 Carol Dixon
Jul 22, 2017 Steven Schueller
Jul 22, 2017 Jodi Carlin
Jul 22, 2017 Leigha Henson
Jul 22, 2017 Sara Willis
Jul 20, 2017 Alanna Reuben
Jul 19, 2017 Aurelia Gergely
Jul 17, 2017 Linda Cypert
Jul 15, 2017 Melissa Palmer This has to be stopped!
Jul 14, 2017 linda eason
Jul 13, 2017 W H Edler
Jul 12, 2017 Arrie Hammel
Jul 12, 2017 shelley dimond
Jul 12, 2017 Suzette Henderson
Jul 10, 2017 Linda Messer
Jul 9, 2017 Susan Kinzie
Jul 9, 2017 Lindsey Dakin
Jul 9, 2017 joette Balakoski
Jul 9, 2017 Jacqueline Straw
Jul 9, 2017 Bärbel Sänger-Tolksdorf
Jul 8, 2017 Reinhardt Jassmann
Jul 8, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 8, 2017 Meriam Reusch
Jul 8, 2017 (Name not displayed) Der Mensch ist die widerlichste und grausamste BESTIE !!!
Jul 8, 2017 petra danis
Jul 8, 2017 Sabine Gröppel
Jul 8, 2017 clive grylls
Jul 8, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 8, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 8, 2017 Ernst Pitlik
Jul 8, 2017 Nancy Lehnen-Marso
Jul 8, 2017 Eva Duru Tiere sind Lebewesen wie wir, darum behandelt sie so wie ihr selbst behandelt werden wollt und zwar mit Liebe und Respekt. Es kann nichts auf der Welt geben, das das töten wegen dem Elfenbein rechtfertigt.
Jul 7, 2017 Claudia Zwald Lasst den Tieren ihren Lebensraum und lasst sie am Leben!!!
Jul 7, 2017 Ruth Eberhard Sie brauchen unseren Schutz. Sie leben schon so lange auf unserer Erde, und dürfen nicht ausgerottet werden.
Jul 7, 2017 viorica winkler
Jul 7, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Jul 7, 2017 Cristina Giambattista
Jul 7, 2017 Hofer Eugen
Jul 7, 2017 Tatjana Rüstow
Jul 7, 2017 Scarlett Jasler
Jul 7, 2017 Susanne Fuchs
Jul 7, 2017 Sue Mitchel-Runow
Jul 7, 2017 Anke Zieger
Jul 7, 2017 Monika Skala
Jul 7, 2017 Sigrid Wagner alle Tiere dieser Erde verdienen es, zu leben

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