Senate bill would lift ban on goods made with legal ivory


By Lydia Wheeler, The Hill

Date Published

GOP senators are trying to stop the Obama administration from regulating lawfully owned ivory found in antique firearms, musical instruments and other family heirlooms.

The African Elephant Conservation and Legal Ivory Possession Act of 2015, which Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) introduced this week, would lift the ban the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) placed on the importation, exportation and sale of lawfully possessed ivory in February 2014.

“The Obama Administration’s plan to limit the trade of legal ivory — such as that found in legally produced guitars, pianos, and firearms — could prohibit musicians from buying or selling instruments that contain ivory, prevent firearms and family heirlooms containing ivory from being sold, and pose a significant threat to the antique business,” Alexander said.

The bill would allow the secretary of the Interior to place a FWS law enforcement officer in each African country with a significant elephant population to guard against poachers and reauthorize appropriation of no more than $5 million each year from 2016 to 2020 for projects to train and equip wildlife officials for anti-poaching efforts in ivory-producing countries.