African elephant ivory nearly banned from the US

Publication June 6, 2016

The second-most-commented-on rule in the Fish and Wildlife Service’s history will now go before a US and Chinese delegation. Meeting in Beijing, officials will hold strategic and economic talks with the goal to further restrict the trade of elephant ivory.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service’s June 2nd rule follows up on Obama’s 2013 executive order to combat US wildlife trafficking and curtail similar challenges in other countries.

Because the US is the world’s second-largest consumer of illegally poached ivory, the new rule’s intent is to inhibit its trade and protect the endangered elephant. An endangered species, there are reports of 96 kills on any given day.
Under the new rule, sales will be restricted to lawfully imported antiques and musical instruments that consist of less than 200 grams of ivory.

The rule also lays out specific prohibitions for hunters, individuals and importers. Under the new rule, hunters may only bring into the US two animal trophies per year. If an individual moves household ivory objects into the country or receives an inheritance of ivory objects, these objects may not be sold. And there are further prohibitions and restrictions on foreign enterprise, whether commercial or not.

There is an exception, however, to accommodate musicians. Musical instruments that contain a small amount of ivory may be bought, sold or carried into other countries. Under previous rules, musicians had to apply for difficult to obtain permits.

In the event that you are in the position of obtaining ivory objects from another country, we encourage you to seek the advice of counsel.

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