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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: 91,073
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

Apr 28, 2016 Jessica Robinson
Apr 28, 2016 maria trotter
Apr 27, 2016 Cindy Araya
Apr 26, 2016 Antje Molton
Apr 26, 2016 Fonda Yarman Right Action Please
Apr 25, 2016 sharon shneyer If we don't stop this there will be no future for elephants.
Apr 25, 2016 alison midgley
Apr 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 25, 2016 Nicole Lorandt
Apr 25, 2016 Roser Prades
Apr 25, 2016 Annick Vanschoenbeek
Apr 25, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 25, 2016 Mary Best
Apr 25, 2016 Sharon Crouch
Apr 25, 2016 George Pergeris
Apr 25, 2016 (Name not displayed) We are custodians on this earth for the next generations. We don't own it and once these majestic animals are dead it will be too late. Look into your children's and grandchildrens faces and tell them why you do this. Murderers
Apr 24, 2016 LUCINDA VEJAR
Apr 24, 2016 Ingrid Van Rompaey
Apr 24, 2016 Mary Hunt
Apr 24, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 24, 2016 eric boutaud
Apr 24, 2016 Lorraine O'Donnell Middle class or shameful class?
Apr 24, 2016 Frederic Lombardi Please help stop this cruel slaughter which destroys elephants and helps criminals.
Apr 23, 2016 Robin Hallford PLEASE STOP this ivory trading that is causing MORE and MORE of what few elephants are left to die at the hands of poachers,usually inhumanely ones ! ! ! !
Apr 23, 2016 Natalie Logsdon
Apr 23, 2016 Christine Kotsschi Please protect the elephants before they disappear because of this needless slaughtering!!
Apr 23, 2016 Kim Gannon
Apr 23, 2016 Karen Lizzano Stop abusing the ELEPHANTs in Trade, Hunting, Circuses etc. Keep this beautiful Creature of God sacred.
Apr 23, 2016 Diana Taylor
Apr 23, 2016 Dee Taylor
Apr 23, 2016 Shirley Israel-Thau
Apr 23, 2016 Sue Turnbull This is unnecessary slaughter. People do not need ivory for any purpose in this day and age
Apr 23, 2016 Antonella Zuppini
Apr 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2016 Carol Anderson
Apr 23, 2016 G De Wilde
Apr 23, 2016 M J Doyle
Apr 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2016 Paul Stenzel, Jr
Apr 23, 2016 Susie Halmos SAVE THE ELEPHANTS PLEASE.
Apr 23, 2016 White Fang
Apr 23, 2016 Eduardo Canut
Apr 23, 2016 Philip Patino
Apr 23, 2016 Sheila Dooley
Apr 23, 2016 Ann-Marie Walker
Apr 23, 2016 Mary Hankey Why isn't the Goverment police & just the people not saving protecting these beautiful animals ! It makes me soooo mad that people are to damn lazy to get a job anything other than killing & tourching an innocent life have the honor to live in their world
Apr 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Apr 23, 2016 Donna Leone When we were down in Fla. (Orlando) went to Animal Kingdom and took a tour depicting what happens in Africa when poachers try and ambush elephants for their ivory tusks. Poachers also go after bush meat.
Apr 23, 2016 Margie Hancock We must protect the elephants!!!!!
Apr 23, 2016 (Name not displayed) every animal has it's place on earth for balance. Human beings the evil ones the greedy ones the cold hearted ones are the ones throwing off the balance.

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