Elephant Abuse

Elephant ivory imports allowed into the USA - Rednecks versus villagers

22/03/2010 23:28:59

It is legal for Americans to shoot elephants and import the ivory into the USA. Photo credit International Foundation for the Conservation of Wildlife (IGF Foundation)

Elephant hide belts and purses, and maps of Africa made from elephants ears all recommended by hunting outfit

By Powell Ettinger - Editor http://www.wildlifeextra.com/go/news/legal-ivory.html#cr

March 2010. Wildlife Extra was under the misapprehension that it was illegal to import ivory into the USA. Given the very recent decision by CITES to prevent Tanzania and Zambia from down listing the elephants to appendix 2, Wildlife Extra is speechless to discover that it is perfectly legal to kill wild elephants in some parts of Africa, including Tanzania, and then import the tusks, skin and other disgusting mementos into the USA.

A very quick check on the web found that big game hunting outfits still market elephant hunts in the USA, and recommend some disgusting options, including making a map of Africa from elephants ears. A hunting outfit that we contacted told us:-

"Bringing back to the states you are allowed to bring the Ivory, and the hide. Most clients have things made from the hide; belts, ladies purses & gun cases. There are many things that can be made out of the leather. Also stoles are made from the feet if you want them made. The ivory is done two ways, a shoulder mount or the guys have them mounted on stands, and some even have the big five done.

Another great thing if you are not doing a shoulder mount is to have one off the ears painted as the ear looks just like Africa.

For an example you can get a 10 day hunt for a 30 to 50lb (of ivory) elephant for $18,000."

US ivory regulations
We checked the US government regulations, and discovered the following:-

In general, export of raw African and Asian elephant ivory from the United States is prohibited. Import of raw African elephant ivory, with the exception of sport-hunted trophies, has been banned since the 1989 moratorium. African elephant ivory can be legally owned or bought and sold within the United States providing it meets ESA requirements and State laws. Worked African elephant ivory acquired before its 1978 ESA listing or antique ivory (over 100 years old) may be imported or exported for non-commercial purposes or, in limited situations, for commercial purposes with a certification from the Service. To date, no commercial import of non-antique African elephant ivory has been permitted under the AECA.

African elephant ivory within the United States that was imported prior to the 1989 ban, imported as sport-hunted trophies, or obtained as the result of Federal law enforcement action is considered legal.

Justice? Villagers versus Rednecks
The logic of this is beyond us. Why is it illegal for poor villagers to kill an elephant to earn a few dollars to feed their family, when it is OK for some redneck to pay $18,000 to kill an elephant and have its ears made into a map? The redneck gets an import licence from the US while the poor villager gets 5 years or worse.

Where else is it legal to import ivory?
I don't know the regulations on ivory imports from many other countries, but would be interested to know them from Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany, France and Canada, or any other countries, so let us know where else it is legal to import ivory.