Tell Congress To Fight Wildlife Trafficking

The elephant and rhino poaching crisis in Africa and Asia has reached crisis levels in the last several years. In 2012 alone, about 30,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks, and a record number of rhinos -- 668 -- were killed in South Africa alone, which is a 5,000% increase in just five years.

This growing poaching crisis is not only putting at risk populations of these animals in the wild; the criminal trade associated with it also has staggering human costs. More than 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed in the last decade by poachers, and the illegal killing of wildlife and trafficking of ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products are exacerbating corruption, destabilizing rural communities, and undermining tourism-based economies in several African countries.

The United States government can make a huge difference for elephants, rhinos and other trafficked species if it takes strong and urgent action.

Ask your members of Congress to support new and enhanced efforts to help stop these animals from being killed, crack down on the criminal networks behind the slaughter, and crush the demand for illegal wildlife products, including ivory. Sign the petition now!
Dear [representatives],

Please support legislation to crack down on wildlife trafficking and enact a moratorium on ivory trade in the United States.

I am deeply concerned about the elephant and rhino poaching crisis in Africa and Asia, which has reached crisis levels in the last several years. In 2012 alone, about 30,000 African elephants were killed for their tusks, and a record number of rhinos -- 668 -- were killed in South Africa alone, which is a 5,000% increase in just five years.

This growing poaching crisis is not only putting at risk populations of these animals in the wild; the criminal trade associated with it also has staggering human costs. More than 1,000 wildlife rangers have been killed in the last decade by poachers, and the illegal killing and trafficking of ivory, rhino horn and other wildlife products are exacerbating corruption, destabilizing rural communities, and undermining tourism-based economies in several African countries.

Illicit wildlife trafficking is now recognized as one of the top five transnational organized crimes -- a multibillion dollar illegal trade that is increasingly dominated by international criminal networks and has been connected to militant groups and organizations with terrorist ties, such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and Al-Shabab.

The United States government can make a huge difference for elephants, rhinos and other trafficked species if it takes strong and urgent action. I urge you to support new and enhanced efforts to help stop these animals from being killed, crack down on the criminal networks that traffic in them, and crush the demand for illegal wildlife products, including ivory.

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will demonstrate by literally crushing the United States' six-ton stockpile of seized illegal ivory, we must take action both abroad and here at home. The United States is the world's second-largest market for wildlife products, including elephant ivory. Once ivory has been brought into the US, it is difficult for law enforcement to determine whether it is legal or illegal. Smugglers take advantage of this system to sell poached ivory as carvings, jewelry and other trinkets. If the United States government wants to stop this illegal trade and save elephants in the wild, it should close existing loopholes and enact a moratorium on ivory commerce until elephant populations have rebounded and poaching is no longer a threat. Congress should also help wildlife law enforcement personnel defend our existing laws by ensuring they have the additional tools and resources they need to apprehend, prosecute and convict wildlife criminals.

[Your comments here]

As your constituent, I ask for your help and your leadership to protect these iconic species and crush the illegal wildlife trade that threatens their survival. The poaching crisis is only growing worse, and the time for Congress to act is now. Please support legislation to crack down on wildlife trafficking and enact a moratorium on ivory trade in the United States.

Sincerely,
[Your name here]
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