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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 94,880
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, 2017 PORTOLAN Mylène
Feb 21, 2017 Pamela Miguez
Feb 21, 2017 Vera Turner
Feb 21, 2017 Bob Richardson Please stop this horrible practice!!!
Feb 21, 2017 José Ángel
Feb 20, 2017 Cara Ammon
Feb 20, 2017 Anita Vanderkooi
Feb 20, 2017 Angela Dussan
Feb 19, 2017 Diane Sonnenberg
Feb 19, 2017 rene destizons
Feb 19, 2017 remi donneger
Feb 19, 2017 Lisa Calzadillas The eyes of the world are watching you and your actions .You MUST commit to stopping the demand for ivory.
Feb 19, 2017 (Name not displayed)
Feb 19, 2017 Baltatescu Rita
Feb 19, 2017 DAVID GRAVIER
Feb 19, 2017 Jennifer Martin
Feb 19, 2017 Audrey Junkin
Feb 19, 2017 trudie yoshino
Feb 19, 2017 pascal federgrun
Feb 19, 2017 corinne federgrun
Feb 19, 2017 marianna jancsek
Feb 19, 2017 Nathalie NATH
Feb 19, 2017 Ed Heesbeen
Feb 19, 2017 Coclin Dany
Feb 19, 2017 Anna Vivid Pracful coexistence
Feb 18, 2017 Ana Araya
Feb 18, 2017 Naomi Annar
Feb 18, 2017 Sheri Eddins
Feb 18, 2017 Evelyn Terryberry
Feb 18, 2017 Sandra Hnatijuk
Feb 18, 2017 william bedinghaus
Feb 18, 2017 Wayne Moncus
Feb 18, 2017 Sandrine Vidal Please save, protect and respect all animals 😭
Feb 18, 2017 (Name not displayed) Please count me in when it comes to protecting ALL animals from the greed and cruelty of humans!!
Feb 18, 2017 Amy Wilson
Feb 18, 2017 Mona Engström
Feb 18, 2017 Laurette Juarez Beard
Feb 18, 2017 Carole Naud
Feb 17, 2017 adeline xu love and protect them, don't forget animals roam the earth before humans and they have every right to continue to roam here freely. we have our own place to call home. allow them to do the same too
Feb 17, 2017 Robin Doiron
Feb 17, 2017 Crystal Khammanivong
Feb 17, 2017 Barry Sheridan
Feb 17, 2017 Piper Rodriguez This is so wrong and should never ever happen, this has to stop now...........
Feb 17, 2017 Meredith Williams
Feb 17, 2017 Margaret Villa
Feb 17, 2017 Dawn Deboy
Feb 17, 2017 Denise Crownover
Feb 17, 2017 Iris Somerton Jones All these animals must be protected and governments must pass a law that poaching or hurting these animals must hold a punishment the ame as human murder.All God's creatureshave a right for peace and love ,about time the world take this seriously.
Feb 17, 2017 janice copeland
Feb 17, 2017 Mary Gerber

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