Skip navigation

no spam, unsubscribe anytime.
Skip navigation
Goal: 100,000 Progress: 92,239
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 29, 2016 Diane Benjamins
Jul 29, 2016 Ina Zec
Jul 29, 2016 Dannielle Clydesdale
Jul 28, 2016 Cecille Ellis Please kill the market for ivory and stop the killing of these majestic animals.
Jul 28, 2016 Judith Vincent
Jul 28, 2016 Tammy Cieslak
Jul 28, 2016 paloma mireles
Jul 28, 2016 Joyce Onufet This barbaric tradition has gone on decades too long!!! PLEASE STOP IT. NOW!! Help the animals and your people to progress to new jobs that are Legal!!!
Jul 28, 2016 Diane Atton
Jul 28, 2016 Helga Preinesberger
Jul 28, 2016 Frances Bessette
Jul 28, 2016 Kelly Cole
Jul 28, 2016 yvonne perkins
Jul 27, 2016 Norma Lozada
Jul 27, 2016 Marylou Ogle
Jul 27, 2016 Cathy Burger
Jul 27, 2016 Diane Myers
Jul 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 27, 2016 Sydney Bryant
Jul 27, 2016 Horacio Liedo
Jul 27, 2016 Susan Buckland Once these amazing creatures are gone, they are gone forever! Shut the vile ivory trade down now and save our elephants!
Jul 27, 2016 Tracy Martel
Jul 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 27, 2016 Taylor Smith This is beyond cruel, and inhumane! It must be stopped,with dire penalties in place.
Jul 27, 2016 Mark Turner
Jul 27, 2016 (Name not displayed) Stop the needless slaughter!!!!!
Jul 27, 2016 Olga Faletova
Jul 27, 2016 mireille kestelyn
Jul 27, 2016 Pamela Lawson
Jul 27, 2016 Teresa Roberts
Jul 27, 2016 liliane DI PAOLO
Jul 27, 2016 Leslie Maxwell The world is watching you. You can make the difference.
Jul 27, 2016 Moira Landis
Jul 27, 2016 Kippy Dishman
Jul 27, 2016 Miranda Davis
Jul 27, 2016 heather kirk
Jul 27, 2016 Kathryn Coons
Jul 27, 2016 Brenda Douglas
Jul 27, 2016 Frederick Osman
Jul 27, 2016 johan van moerzeke
Jul 27, 2016 Sevda Cenkci
Jul 27, 2016 Steve Osowecki Death to all animal abusers.
Jul 27, 2016 Alyson Hill
Jul 27, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jul 27, 2016 Rosanna Ceroni As long as there is a market for ivory African elephants pay the ultimate price.
Jul 27, 2016 Barbara Hawkins
Jul 27, 2016 LISA Amshoff
Jul 27, 2016 Jayanthi Bhandary
Jul 27, 2016 Courtney Bisinger
Jul 27, 2016 Rosie Albanese

back to top

Share this page and help protect habitat: