Keep hands off ivory

U.S. personnel should not buy elephant ivory while stationed or
vacationing overseas, customs officials advise. Imports of ivory into
the United States are prohibited under the Endangered Species and the
African Elephant Conservation acts.

“The ban applies both to unprocessed ivory tusks and worked ivory
pieces such as carved figures, jewelry or piano keys,” said Bill
Johnson of the European Command’s Customs and Border Clearance Agency.
However, exceptions exist for:

• Bona fide antiques more than 100 years old which can be imported with a valid permit
• African elephant ivory that the owner registered with U.S. Customs before leaving the USA that is being re-imported
• African elephant ivory items acquired before Feb. 4, 1977, when accompanied by a valid permit

Johnson added that there are also no restrictions on the import of
ivory from the extinct elephant-like mammals known as mastodons. Owners
of items partially or totally made from mastodon ivory should obtain a
statement of origin from the manufacturer stating that the article is
mastodon ivory, not subject to the Endangered Species Act of 1973,
Title 16 US Code.

Ivory acquired abroad that is not a properly documented antique can be
confiscated when it arrives in the USA. Customs do not refund the
purchase price and can fine the owner.

More information on ivory and other endangered species issues is available online at  
(Courtesy of USEUCOM Customs and Border Clearance Agency)