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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 95,763
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 21, 2018 irene riviere
Feb 20, 2018 renay lawrence
Feb 20, 2018 Sarah Mallows
Feb 19, 2018 Julie Carter
Feb 18, 2018 Susan Witchey This needs to stop. Killing elephants for greed
Feb 17, 2018 Kelley OConnor
Feb 17, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 16, 2018 Christine Devroey
Feb 16, 2018 Robyn Roberts These are not trophies- they are parts of humanity’s treasures. Can we not be satisfied with life itself, rather than taking all these innocent lives? WAKE UP!!
Feb 15, 2018 Rosemary Morgan
Feb 15, 2018 Rose Ann Hayes Zinke needs to be hunted!
Feb 15, 2018 Cd Drucker
Feb 15, 2018 CYNTHIIA Drucker
Feb 15, 2018 Mary Conde
Feb 15, 2018 Sergio Barrera
Feb 15, 2018 Kathryn Summerfield
Feb 15, 2018 judy Tolliday
Feb 15, 2018 Bill BALHARRY Please.
Feb 15, 2018 Amanda Holm
Feb 15, 2018 Candis Miller
Feb 15, 2018 Debra Atlas It's unconscionable that we allow endangered animal trophies into our country again. All so our President, his family and friends can hunt? This must STOP !!!
Feb 15, 2018 Lucille Angelo It is wrong.
Feb 15, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 15, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 15, 2018 Nancy Kroll These are wonderful creatures. Do not allow this any more. No more killing!!!
Feb 15, 2018 David Keogh Please ban this cruel sport.
Feb 15, 2018 Tanja McDaniell
Feb 15, 2018 Robert Ibbeson
Feb 15, 2018 Christine lee Ryan Zinke must be stopped he is also condemning Americas wild horses to slaughter. It's all about the money.
Feb 15, 2018 Annette Jackson Endangered species need protection, not exploitation.
Feb 15, 2018 Cheryl Clayton Please stop this madness! What is the Trump administration and others doing to our world!
Feb 15, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Feb 14, 2018 Peter Thompson
Feb 14, 2018 Linda Tesser
Feb 14, 2018 Elizabeth West
Feb 14, 2018 Diego Gavilanes
Feb 14, 2018 aya oda
Feb 11, 2018 Sieglinda Preez
Feb 11, 2018 carla bond
Feb 11, 2018 Kati Sonnenburg
Feb 7, 2018 Michelle Johnson "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mahatma Gandhi
Feb 6, 2018 Robert Woodhams
Feb 6, 2018 Audrey Holmes
Feb 6, 2018 James Williams
Feb 6, 2018 Andrew Deakin
Feb 5, 2018 Lawrence Machtinger
Jan 30, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jan 23, 2018 Setsuko Maruki-Fox
Jan 12, 2018 (Name not displayed)
Jan 11, 2018 Marta Rohrback

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