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Is African elephant ivory legal in the United States?

Posted at 1:20 PM, Feb 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-13 13:20:22-05

In July 2016, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a near-total ban on sales of African elephant ivory.

The ban doesn’t affect anyone who already owns a piece of ivory, for instance a family heirloom or an antique musical instrument.

The ban instead prohibits commercial imports of ivory carvings or collectibles illegally acquired or removed from the wild after Feb. 26, 1976, and also the import and export of raw ivory tusks of any age.

RELATED: Humane Society pushes for legislation after elephant ivory sold in Maryland

Ivory sold within state lines must have documentation showing that the item was legally imported. Interstate sales are prohibited for sport-hunted trophies, imported items for law enforcement or scientific purposes, and illegally acquired collectibles.

State including California, Hawaii, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington have passed anti-wildlife trafficking laws, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Maryland lawmakers are scheduled to hear legislation on Feb. 15 after at least 30 retailers were caught selling jewelry and other elephant ivory items throughout the state.

Find more information on elephant ivory ownership. 

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