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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: 91,299
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.

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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 25, 2016 Steve Williams
May 23, 2016 Donna Channen
May 19, 2016 Catherine Bodnar
May 19, 2016 Samantha Martinez
May 19, 2016 moira banks
May 18, 2016 Jennifer Sosnowski
May 18, 2016 Lisa Lucchetti
May 18, 2016 Tracey Smith
May 18, 2016 Алексей Жезлов
May 18, 2016 Karen Clark Romans
May 18, 2016 Michelle Mcintyre
May 18, 2016 Charyse Kirby
May 18, 2016 jo bell
May 18, 2016 D A
May 18, 2016 Imelda McDonald
May 18, 2016 Nikki Stowers
May 17, 2016 (Name not displayed) They should cut their noses off
May 17, 2016 Gabriele Santana
May 17, 2016 Dave Smith
May 17, 2016 Sandra Swami Please protect these amazing animals.
May 17, 2016 Susan Showers
May 17, 2016 Karen Croan Please sign & save the elephants. They deserve our help.
May 17, 2016 Linda Borner
May 17, 2016 Melanie Irwin
May 17, 2016 Suzi Drake
May 17, 2016 Birgit Werner
May 17, 2016 Iris Klein Think a bit more human!
May 17, 2016 Willem van Heerden Elephants are the most magnificent animals on earth -the have human feelings. We have to protect them at all cost!
May 17, 2016 Lisa Schumacher
May 16, 2016 Franziska Kunze
May 16, 2016 Ginger Stearns
May 16, 2016 Elisabeth Behrens
May 16, 2016 Danielle Leleu
May 16, 2016 annie schuil
May 16, 2016 Amy McClure
May 16, 2016 Yvonn L Please protect these magnificent, intelligent and loving creatures!
May 16, 2016 Greg Jones
May 16, 2016 Laura Smith Inhumane! Stop this cruelty!
May 16, 2016 ann beatty
May 16, 2016 Thomas Boehm
May 16, 2016 Uschi Ott
May 16, 2016 (Name not displayed) I support this petition and sign with the hope for creating change..urgently!!!!
May 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 16, 2016 hugo deroulou
May 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
May 16, 2016 harriett dougherty
May 16, 2016 Judy Cowen
May 16, 2016 Stefanie Lugauer
May 16, 2016 Jacqueline Bouldin
May 16, 2016 valerie bocourt

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