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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: 91,511
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

Jun 28, 2016 Nicolas Muzotte
Jun 27, 2016 Saddie Al
Jun 27, 2016 Kari Castillo
Jun 27, 2016 (Name not displayed) I love elephants and I can't take it if they were harm by anyone in this world
Jun 26, 2016 Tatiana Aguirre
Jun 26, 2016 Rachael Proctor
Jun 26, 2016 Dennis Zampitella
Jun 25, 2016 jesus herreros
Jun 25, 2016 Jodi Kane
Jun 25, 2016 deliere aline stop aux massacre
Jun 25, 2016 (Name not displayed) Please, stop ivory trade and the killing of these majestic endangered animals.
Jun 25, 2016 Celeste Watt
Jun 25, 2016 Bette Burbank
Jun 25, 2016 Vicki Voice
Jun 24, 2016 Victoria Dmitrieva
Jun 24, 2016 Lisa Peterson
Jun 24, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jun 24, 2016 John Burgess
Jun 24, 2016 rothild dömel
Jun 24, 2016 sophie mesenbrock
Jun 24, 2016 Ana Fonseca
Jun 24, 2016 Christine Bouteloup
Jun 24, 2016 jeannine wietrich
Jun 24, 2016 Veronica Huerta
Jun 24, 2016 Giuseppina Mormile
Jun 24, 2016 selbonne nathalie
Jun 24, 2016 Bruna Santin
Jun 23, 2016 Jackie Jameson
Jun 23, 2016 Antonio Molina Garzón
Jun 23, 2016 Janet Grunke
Jun 23, 2016 Eunice Brenes
Jun 23, 2016 molly gunason How long is it going to take for people to realize we have to take care of the earth and its inhabitants
Jun 23, 2016 Holly Crawford
Jun 23, 2016 Patricia Gonzalez
Jun 23, 2016 Melissa Curtis
Jun 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jun 23, 2016 Virginie Bonett Boisseranc
Jun 23, 2016 (Name not displayed) Only you can stop the horrible practice! These majestic animals deserve to live in peace, not in fear!!!!
Jun 23, 2016 Renee Breazeale
Jun 23, 2016 Carla Steele
Jun 23, 2016 Ingrid Arnholdt
Jun 23, 2016 Candace Slivinski
Jun 23, 2016 Sharon Mullane
Jun 23, 2016 Teresa Barron Thank for listening to this plea.
Jun 23, 2016 (Name not displayed)
Jun 23, 2016 Chrystal Grater
Jun 23, 2016 Betty Andrist
Jun 23, 2016 Sejourne Emmanuelle
Jun 23, 2016 Ellie McWhorter The greatness of a nation is based on it's treatment of animals. - A. Schweitzer
Jun 23, 2016 Raphaël PONCE

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