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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: 91,163
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

May 1, 2016 Jennifer Pistole
May 1, 2016 nancy allard
May 1, 2016 Yukari Albisani We need to band together and fight for what's right. Every creature on earth has the right to live a long, and peaceful life; each of us has a duty to make sure that happens.
May 1, 2016 L K
May 1, 2016 Kimberly Frenzel
May 1, 2016 Chris Brown
May 1, 2016 Linda Russell Elephants will be gone in a few years, if China doesn't stop poaching them for Ivory. Make your trinkets from something that doesn't come from animals, for gods sake !
May 1, 2016 Gemma Adamson
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2016 jenny smith elephants will be extinct if china and other asian countries dont abandon their love of ivory and recognise what it is doing to wildlife
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed) These beautiful and majestic animals must be protected !!! Thank you.
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 30, 2016 Tracy Meredith Why would the Chinese want to wear teeth. How stupid.
Apr 30, 2016 Tracy Meredith Who wants to wear teeth or have an ornament made out of teeth, how horrible. I can't understand why anyone would want ivory, I wouldn't want to wear an animals teeth. How stupid.
Apr 30, 2016 Véronika Franchino
Apr 30, 2016 M Schickhoff
Apr 30, 2016 Alexandra Nehin Help these adorable babies
Apr 30, 2016 Evita Nuvoloni
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed) I love elephants and don't agree with killing any animal of any kind they are all God's creations
Apr 30, 2016 William Perry
Apr 30, 2016 David Sperry
Apr 30, 2016 sub aravinth
Apr 30, 2016 (Name not displayed) STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP
Apr 30, 2016 Christopher Law
Apr 30, 2016 sarah shergold
Apr 30, 2016 Stephanie Sieben
Apr 30, 2016 Tanya Turner
Apr 30, 2016 Susan Young What can I say humans are the cruelest species on the planet
Apr 30, 2016 Lynn Gergen
Apr 30, 2016 Elizabeth Gasque
Apr 30, 2016 Sherry Goldstein
Apr 30, 2016 Julia Langley
Apr 30, 2016 Maggie Smith
Apr 30, 2016 Desiree Hartt This tragic slaughter has to be stopped!
Apr 30, 2016 Brittany Taylor
Apr 30, 2016 Iris Glarner-Frey
Apr 30, 2016 Rhona Hope Please fight to stop poaching before it's too late
Apr 29, 2016 Linda Teague
Apr 29, 2016 Dhyani D'Souza PLEASE, this should never be an issue. These beautiful animals need our protection. Thank you
Apr 29, 2016 Judy Sylvester
Apr 29, 2016 Holly Rivers Destroy the poachers and save our precious elephant's and rhinos!
Apr 29, 2016 Marion Inge Cavero Blumenfeld
Apr 29, 2016 Sue Squires
Apr 29, 2016 Anya Genkina
Apr 29, 2016 Jocelyn Cornbleet

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