How Does it Impact Knife Owners and Manufacturers?
Much of the information from this article was derived from an article published by the US Fish & Wildlife Service titled “What Can I Do With My Ivory?”. Click here for more information.
On July 6, 2016, a near-total ban on commercial trade in African elephant ivory went into effect in the United States. It’s important to note that the new regulations do not restrict personal possession of ivory. If you already own ivory – an heirloom carving that’s been passed down in your family, or a vintage musical instrument with ivory components, those pieces are yours. We know those items created long ago aren’t threatening today’s wild elephants.
For more detailed information on trade in African elephant ivory see the Endangered Species Act final 4(d) rule for the African elephant and associated FAQs, our CITES implementing regulations (50 CFR part 23), Director’s Order 210, and the African Elephant Conservation Act. In addition to this federal law, you must also comply with any relevant state laws and all imports and exports must be accompanied by appropriate CITES documents and meet other U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Service) import/export requirements.
Can I sell African elephant ivory items……within a state?
Under Federal law, you can sell your African elephant ivory within your state (intrastate commerce) if you can demonstrate that your ivory was lawfully imported prior to the date that the African elephant was listed in CITES Appendix I (January 18, 1990). This documentation could be in the form of a CITES pre-Convention certificate, a datable photo, a dated letter or other document referring to the item, or other evidence.
You do not need to obtain a permit from the Service for sales within a state. However, if you are offering African elephant ivory for sale, you should be prepared to provide appropriate documentation to the Service, if asked. We would also suggest that you pass along all documentation to the buyer of your elephant ivory items.
Some states have laws prohibiting or restricting sale of ivory. Check to make sure that you are also in compliance with local and state laws. Contact the state to check on their requirements.
Can I sell African elephant ivory items………across state lines?
The sale of African elephant ivory items across state lines (interstate commerce) is prohibited, except for items that qualify as ESA antiques and certain manufactured or handcrafted items that contain a small (de minimis) amount of ivory and meet specific criteria.
Interstate commerce is always prohibited for the following:
- sport-hunted trophies
- items imported under the exception for a household move or inheritance
- items imported as law enforcement or scientific specimens
To qualify for the ESA antiques exemption, an item must meet all of the following criteria [seller/importer/exporter must demonstrate]:
- It is 100 years or older.
- It is composed in whole or in part of an ESA-listed species;
- It has not been repaired or modified with any such species after December 27, 1973; and
- It is being or was imported through an endangered species “antique port.”
To qualify for the de minimis exception, manufactured or handcrafted items must meet (i) or (ii) and (iii) – (vii) of the following criteria:
- (i) If the item is located within the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990, or was imported into the United States under a Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
- (ii) If the item is located outside the United States, the ivory was removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976;
- (iii) The ivory is a fixed or integral component or components of a larger manufactured or handcrafted item and is not in its current form the primary source of the value of the item, that is, the ivory does not account for more than 50 % of the value of the item;
- (iv) The ivory is not raw;
- (v) The manufactured or handcrafted item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory, that is, the ivory component or components do not account for more than 50 % of the item by volume;
- (vi) The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams; and
- (vii) The item was manufactured or handcrafted before July 6, 2016.
- For items made of African elephant ivory that qualify as an ESA antique or meet the de minimis criteria, you do not need a permit from the Service to sell ivory across state lines. However, if you are offering African elephant ivory for sale, you should be prepared to provide appropriate documentation to the Service, if asked. We would also suggest that you pass along all documentation to the buyer of your elephant ivory items. For detailed information on documentation requirements, please refer to Director’s Order 210.
- Some states have laws prohibiting or restricting sale of ivory. Check to make sure that you are also in compliance with local and state laws. Contact the state to check on their requirements.