The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has issued a final rule for the African elephant promulgated under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, which bans virtually all imports and exports of African elephant ivory.  The Final Rule, effective July 6, 2016 prohibits the import and export of African elephant ivory with limited exceptions for: Musical instruments, items that are part of a traveling exhibition, items that are part of a household move or inheritance when specific criteria are met; and ivory for law enforcement or genuine scientific purposes. Antiques (generally at least 100 years of age with certain other criteria) are not subject to the provisions of this rule and maybe imported or exported without a threatened species permit.  Furthermore, the final rule allows for the for import of sport-hunted trophies but limits the number of sport-hunted African elephant trophies imported into the United States to two per hunter per year.  Trade in live African elephants and African elephant parts and products other than ivory is allowed under the final rule provided that certain other requirements have been met.

Generally, all wildlife (including parts and products) imported into or exported from the United States for any purpose must be declared to FWS and cleared prior to release by Customs and Border Protection.  If you have any questions regarding the import or export of animals or animal products pursuant to FWS regulations, please contact our firm.  You can read the final rule here.