This comes to us via The Recording Academy:

Since February 2014, the Obama Administration has been working hard to combat the African elephant poaching crisis by crafting regulations to impose a near total ban on the commercial trade of African elephant ivory.  The music community has championed conservation and artists have been outspoken in the effort to save these beautiful animals.  At the same time, we want to be sure that the Administration’s new rules will not have any unintended consequences on musicians that possess older instruments such as violin bows or guitars that happen to contain small amounts of ivory but have no impact on the illicit ivory trade.

The final rule affirms that musical instruments do not contribute to elephant poaching or the illegal ivory trade. In announcing the rule, USFWS stated, “We listened carefully to the legitimate concerns raised by various stakeholder groups and, as a result, are allowing commonsense, narrow exceptions for musicians, musical instrument makers and dealers…to trade items that have minimal amounts of ivory and satisfy other conditions. These items are not drivers of elephant poaching and do not provide cover for traffickers.”

The rule also removes a current restriction on international travel with musical instruments containing small amounts of ivory.  And the rule will also allow the continued domestic sale of pre-existing musical instruments containing no more than 200 grams of ivory (less than in most musical instruments, including pianos) that were legally crafted and legally imported. 

Ending the scourge of elephant poaching is vital and we applaud the Administration for taking aggressive steps to stop it.  We are also gratified that the Administration agrees with us that this important goal can be accomplished without impacting the livelihoods of working musicians who rely on often irreplaceable musical instruments as the tools of their trade.

The final rule takes effect on July 6, 2016.   If you own a musical instrument that contains ivory and want to learn more about how the new regulations will affect you, please visit