U.S. Govt Ivory Ban July 2015

Fish and Wildlife has requested comments on the latest changes that have now been proposed after Directors Order 210 (see blog for background). Make no mistake this is just one more step in the government passing a complete ban on all commercial transactions involving any ivory. Many observers believe that the primary objective of the current administration and the environmentalists is the ban the ownership of all ivory. In this issue see the New York state ivory ban.


My colleague Lark Mason has provided responses below to both Congressional and Senate representatives in support of new legislation to counter the Adminstration's efforts in this area


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants: African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) Rule; Revision
July 29, 2015
Excerpts
We propose to allow sale and offer for sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce along with delivery, receipt, carrying, transport, or shipment of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit for manufactured items containing de minimis amounts of ivory, provided they meet the following criteria:
• For items located in the United States, the ivory was imported into the United States prior to January 18, 1990 (the date the African elephant was listed in CITES Appendix I) or was imported into the United States under a CITES pre-Convention certificate with no limitation on its commercial use;
• For items located outside the United States, the ivory is pre-Convention (removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976 (the date the African elephant was first listed under CITES));
• The ivory is a fixed component or components of a larger manufactured item and is not, in its current form, the primary source of value of the item;
• The manufactured item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory;
• The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams;
• The ivory is not raw; and
• The item was manufactured before the effective date of the final rule for this action.
We have intentionally crafted this exception to allow commercial activity in a very narrow class of items. While we have given careful consideration to the types of items containing African elephant ivory for which we could allow continued commercialization in interstate and foreign commerce (because we do not believe the trade is contributing to the poaching of elephants and we believe the risk of illegal trade is low)

Under all three of these exceptions, the importer or exporter would need to show that the African elephant ivory in the item was legally acquired and removed from the wild prior to February 26, 1976 (the date the African elephant was first listed under CITES). This does not necessarily mean that the current owner of an item containing ivory, a musical instrument, for example, acquired the instrument or the ivory in the instrument prior to February 1976. It means that there is sufficient information to show that the ivory was harvested (taken from the wild) prior to February 26, 1976, even though the instrument may not have been manufactured until after that date. It also means that there is sufficient information to show that the ivory was harvested in compliance with all applicable laws of the range country and that any subsequent import and export of the ivory and the instrument containing the ivory was legal under CITES and other applicable laws (understanding that the instrument may have changed hands many times before being acquired by the current owner).
(3) Interstate and foreign commerce of ivory. Except for antiques and certain manufactured items containing de minimis quantities of ivory, sale or offer for sale of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce and delivery, receipt, carrying, transport, or shipment of ivory in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity is prohibited. Except as provided in paragraphs
(e)(5)(iii) and (e)(6) through (8) of this section, manufactured items containing de minimis quantities of ivory may be sold or offered for sale in interstate or foreign commerce and delivered, received, carried, transported, or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit issued under § 17.32, provided they meet all 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 component or components of a larger manufactured item and is not in its current form the primary source of the value of the item;
(iv) The ivory is not raw;
(v) The manufactured item is not made wholly or primarily of ivory;
(vi) The total weight of the ivory component or components is less than 200 grams; and
(vii) The item was manufactured before [EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE FINAL RULE].

(9) Antique ivory. Antiques (as defined in paragraph (e)(1) of this section) are not subject to the provisions of this rule. Antiques containing or consisting of ivory may therefore be imported into or exported from the United States without a threatened species permit issued under § 17.32, provided the requirements of 50 CFR parts 13, 14, and 23 have been met. Also, the provisions and prohibitions under the African Elephant Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 4201 et. seq.) apply, regardless of the age of the item. Antiques that consist of or contain raw or worked ivory may similarly be sold or offered for sale in interstate or foreign commerce and delivered, received, carried, transported, or shipped in interstate or foreign commerce in the course of a commercial activity without a threatened species permit issued under § 17.32.
(e) African elephant (Loxodonta africana). This paragraph (e) applies to any specimen of the species Loxodonta africana whether live or dead, including any part or product thereof. Except as provided in paragraphs (e)(2) through (9) of this section, all of the prohibitions and exceptions in §§ 17.31 and 17.32 apply to the African elephant. Persons seeking to benefit from the exceptions provided in this paragraph (e) must demonstrate that they meet the criteria to qualify for the exceptions.
(1) Definitions. In this paragraph (e), antique means any item that meets all four criteria under section 10(h) of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1539(h)). Ivory means any African elephant tusk and any piece of an African elephant tusk. Raw ivory means any African elephant tusk, and any piece thereof, the surface of which, polished or unpolished, is unaltered or minimally carved. Worked ivory means any African elephant tusk, and any piece thereof, that is not raw ivory.

§14.12   Designated ports.
The following ports of entry are designated for the importation and exportation of wildlife and wildlife products and are referred to hereafter as “designated ports”:
(a) Anchorage, Alaska.
(b) Atlanta, Georgia.
(c) Baltimore, Maryland.
(d) Boston, Massachusetts.
(e) Chicago, Illinois.
(f) Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.
(g) Honolulu, Hawaii.
(h) Houston, Texas.
(i) Los Angeles, California.
(j) Louisville, Kentucky.
(k) Memphis, Tennessee.
(l) Miami, Florida.
(m) New Orleans, Louisiana.
(n) New York, New York.
(o) Portland, Oregon.
(p) San Francisco, California.
(q) Seattle, Washington.


End.





Dear Friends,
You are probably aware of the changes by the USFWS to the Endangered Species Act but perhaps unaware that there are Senate and House bills which are pending that could dramatically improve the situation. We encourage everyone to distribute the below message to your clients and friends. In addition, the USFWS is proposing even more draconian restrictions. For now, we need to gather support for this effort among our elected representatives. The more calls and letters and emails sent in, the better. Please cut and paste as you think appropriate. The PDF attachment contains form letters that can be emailed or sent by post as well as a recap of the situation and a direct link to the Congressional offices.
Lark Mason

RE: Save the Elephants and Protect the Arts
The very stringent new policies recently imposed by The US Fish and Wildlife Service and new legislation in New York and other states have made it impossible and potentially criminal to import, export, sell and even possess any ivory regardless of age or artistic value.
Orchestras visiting the US from overseas have had musical instruments confiscated by US Customs officers. Exhibitors at antique shows have had antique ivories confiscated. A bill proposed in the New York State Senate calling for the possession of ivory to be declared to be a criminal act was narrowly defeated last month.
The very important and worthy goal of saving the elephants has led to drastic actions which imperil the arts. Collectors, curators and dealers who always avoid modern and illegal ivory of any kind, but appreciate the arts of the past which may include ivory, now are being deprived of their rights and even turned into criminals by these new laws and regulations.
Now there is an opportunity for us to simultaneously save the arts and save the elephants, but we must act quickly.
Two steps are needed:
1) Write to your congressional representatives.
2) Circulate the attached notice to your mailing list with a cover note urging all your friends to write to their congressional representatives.
Please do not delay – act now.
Two US Congressional bills with bi-partisan support have recently been introduced to
increase protection of elephants and other endangered species while allowing US citizens
to legally possess and sell antiques, musical instruments, chess sets, furniture and other
works of art containing ivory and similar materials are now advancing in the House and
Senate. Senators Daines (R-MT) and Alexander (R-TN) introduced Senate bill S.1769,
African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015. Representative
Don Young (R-AK) has introduced companion legislation to achieve the same goals.
The House bill is designated H.R.697.
This legislation would end the unilateral moratorium on import, export, and sale of
lawfully possessed ivory recently imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and
would strengthen measures to stop elephant poaching in Africa and punish countries
engaged in smuggling and illicit trading in ivory. The US regulations governing ivory
import, export, and trade would adhere to the Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species (CITES) which was ratified by the US in 1975. CITES is strictly
enforced in Europe and has 181 signatories around the world. The proposed legislation
would prevent the US Fish and Wildlife Service from promulgating or enforcing
regulations designed to criminalize possession of both legally imported and antique ivory
in the US and would do away with impossible retroactive documentation requirements
recently imposed by USFWS Director’s Order 210.
These bills would add new funding and new measures to fight against poaching in Africa.
Instead of criminalizing and penalizing innocent US citizens or US visitors for possession
of ivory which was legally obtained, these bills would join international efforts to stop
poaching. These bills would require the US Secretary of the Interior to certify any
country which is a significant destination or transit point for the illegal ivory trade. Those
certified countries would be subject to diplomatic and legal actions to pressure them to
stop violating international law.
PLEASE ACT NOW TO SUPPORT THESE CONGRESSIONAL ACTS:
S.1769 IN THE SENATE AND H.R.697 IN THE HOUSE.
Write to your Congressional Representatives today and ask your colleagues and friends to
do the same. Ask your Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor these bills.
To identify your Congressional Representatives and their addresses, go to:
https://www.opencongress.org/people/zipcodelookup
You may wish to write your own message, stating your own reasons for supporting
legislation to allow US citizens and visitors freedom to transport or use or donate legally
obtained ivory in the US. It is important for your representatives to know how the
Director’s Order has adversely affected you; the way to introduce the impact on you is to
add a sentence about your being a stakeholder. A suggested template for a letter to your
senators is shown below. If you use this template, please personalize the last sentence
(don’t cut and paste the entire letter).
Dear Senator,
I support Senate bill S.1769 - African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession
Act of 2015 introduced by Senator Daines and Senator Alexander.
This bill would mandate strong measures to fight poachers in Africa and stop the illicit
trade in ivory and other endangered species. The bill would also protect the rights of US
citizens and institutions to transport, use and sell ivory which is lawfully owned by
ending the unilateral moratorium recently imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Director’s Order 210.
The United States has long been an active participant in the Convention on the
International Trade in Endangered Species. We should continue to enforce those
international regulations while increasing our active support of the fight against poachers
in Africa and illicit traders anywhere in the world, but US owners of antique and legally
obtained ivory should not be dispossessed or turned into criminals by US government
regulations retroactively imposed.
As a stakeholder in this issue who is a professional violinist / plays a 1930s Steinway
piano / has a collection of ____ (19th century netsuke/ 18th century portrait miniatures /
etc.) I urge you to please lend your support and co-sponsor Senate bill S.1769.
A suggested template for a letter to your representative is shown below. As above, please
personalize the last sentence should you use this example:
Dear Congressman,
I support House bill H.R.697 - African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory
Possession Act of 2015 introduced by Representative Don Young.
This bill would mandate strong measures to fight poachers in Africa and stop the illicit
trade in ivory and other endangered species. The bill would also protect the rights of US
citizens and institutions to transport, use, and sell ivory which is lawfully owned by
ending the unilateral moratorium recently imposed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service
Director’s Order 210.
The United States has long been an active participant in the Convention on the
International Trade in Endangered Species. We should continue to enforce those
international regulations while increasing our active support of the fight against poachers
in Africa and illicit traders anywhere in the world, but US owners of antique, and legally
obtained ivory should not be dispossessed or turned into criminals by US government
regulations retroactively imposed.
As a stakeholder in this issue who is a professional violinist / plays a 1930s Steinway
piano / has a collection of ____ (19th century netsuke/ 18th century portrait miniatures /
etc.) I urge you to please lend your support and co-sponsor House bill H.R.697.
Please send this notice to all your friends and colleagues, urging them to take action
immediately by writing to their congressmen and continuing to forward this message. We
have learned that our representatives care what we have to say. They have responded to
our dedicated efforts by drafting these bills. Tell your congressional representatives about
the harm that is being done to collectors, curators, musicians, antique dealers and all US
Citizens by the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s criminalization and policing of private
citizen’s legal possessions. For more information about proposed ivory legislation in your
state, go to http://www.elephantprotection.org/.
Please do not delay – act now.