Except in “a very limited number of circumstances,” the federal government has announced a ban on the commercial trade of elephant ivory, according to a report from the office of the secretary of The White House.
How the ban will affect existing knives with handles of elephant and fossil ivory and existing supplies of elephant and fossil ivory held by knifemaking suppliers, knifemakers and others is not exactly clear at this time. However, if past experience is any barometer, knife professionals and enthusiasts should expect the worst.
Announced yesterday, Feb. 11, the ban prohibits, except under the aforementioned very limited number of circumstances, the import, export or resale of elephant ivory within the United States.
To implement the new controls, federal departments and agencies will immediately act to:
•Prohibit the commercial import of African elephant ivory, including antiques;
•Prohibit the commercial export of elephant ivory, except for bona fide antiques, certain noncommercial items and in “exceptional circumstances permitted under the Endangered Species Act”;
•Clarify the definition of “antique” so that the ivory must be more than 100 years old and meet other requirements under the Endangered Species Act. It will be up to the importer, exporter or seller to prove the item passes muster;
•Limit the number of African elephant sport-hunted trophies an individual can import to two per hunter per year; and, lastly;
•Finalize a proposed rule that would “reaffirm and clarify that sales across state lines are prohibited, except for bona fide antiques, and will prohibit sales within a state unless the seller can demonstrate an item was lawfully imported prior to 1990 for African elephants and 1975 for Asian elephants, or under an exemption document.”
In the coming months, the report noted, the federal government will take further steps to implement the “National Strategy,” and will work with Congress to strengthen existing laws and adopt new ones to enhance its “ability to address this global challenge.”
In other words, the federal government has declared war on all things ivory.
Stay tuned to www.blademag.com for further developments.