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Goal: 100,000 Progress: 93,999
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

Sep 24, 2016 Tom Knoff
Sep 23, 2016 Susan Craig
Sep 22, 2016 Mimi Ngo
Sep 22, 2016 sally greu stop the cruelty of these animals they have done nothing to you. maybe you people need to be scalped and your scalped sold. this is unreal how people will stoop to kill an innocent animal or make money off their ivory this needs to stop now.
Sep 22, 2016 Mark Jessop
Sep 21, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 21, 2016 Kevin Dahl
Sep 18, 2016 Cindy Lynch
Sep 18, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 16, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 15, 2016 Linda Groff
Sep 15, 2016 Verna Dingman I dearly love Elephants I have wooden one ceramic Pewter all Kinds and I would LOVE to see one in person just look not to touch. THEY ARE FREE AND LIVE can you not leave them like that?
Sep 14, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 13, 2016 Eugene T Hughes
Sep 13, 2016 Lisa Huskisson
Sep 13, 2016 Sascha Wenzel
Sep 13, 2016 pat connelly it only takes the stroke of a pen to save elephants lives
Sep 13, 2016 Maria Dimitropoulou
Sep 12, 2016 Marlène Nabias
Sep 12, 2016 Barbara Haiges disgusting practice - awful.
Sep 12, 2016 Marilyn Santos
Sep 12, 2016 Irene Franzis
Sep 12, 2016 (Name not displayed) Stop This Now!! You WILL BE Responseable For YOUR ACTIONS!! Karma. WILL SEE TO THAT!!
Sep 12, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 12, 2016 judith weed
Sep 12, 2016 Jacqueline Paquette
Sep 12, 2016 Arlene Norris
Sep 12, 2016 Josie Tuthill
Sep 12, 2016 Kathy Dowell No one can replace these wonderful elephants. Just remember, Christ is coming. Judgment is near.
Sep 12, 2016 Angela Brandao
Sep 12, 2016 Maria Vitória Magri
Sep 12, 2016 Celeste Young
Sep 12, 2016 John Rödiger
Sep 12, 2016 Ki Hani
Sep 12, 2016 Ronda Wright Stop slaughtering African elephants for any reason. All ivory trade or sale should be illegal in all countries.
Sep 12, 2016 valerie thomert
Sep 12, 2016 Betsy McCarthy
Sep 12, 2016 adriana onicu
Sep 12, 2016 Lorelei Lacey Please stop this. We have so many other things to use to create art, we don't need to kill one of nature's greatest gifts just so we have a cute little carving.
Sep 12, 2016 mary snider
Sep 12, 2016 l b
Sep 12, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Sep 12, 2016 Joan Cham Please stem the demand for illegal ivory, that's causing the slaughter of Africa's remaining elephants
Sep 12, 2016 Наталья Шеплякова
Sep 12, 2016 Jose Carrillo
Sep 12, 2016 Joseph Johnson
Sep 12, 2016 vionnette Negron
Sep 12, 2016 Agata Zorawska
Sep 12, 2016 Joy Keeping
Sep 12, 2016 Kenneth Dela Cruz

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