Update on Ivory Ban

Last Thursday, May 15, 2014, the  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced changes intended to ease international travel with musical instruments under the new enforcement of the ban on bringing African ivory into the States. The recent policy decree banning the importation of African ivory caused great unintended consequences for traveling musicians whose instruments contain small ivory parts, such as bow tips. (For details on the original executive order regarding ivory, read my interview with Heather Noonan from April 30.) In direct response to urgent appeals from the American Federation of Musicians, the League of American Orchestras and other organizations representing musicians, the USFWS revised their policy to include “common-sense” solutions.

The new policy permits travel with instruments purchased prior to February 25, 2014, instead of the original date of February 26, 1976. While this will ease travel for many musicians, problems still exist for many traveling musicians:

  1. It is unclear what documents will suffice to prove that an instrument was purchased before February 25, 2014.
  2. Any instruments containing ivory, purchased after that date, will not be permitted into the US.
  3. There is no reliable system in place for obtaining the necessary CITES permits, so travel is still risky for musicians with these instruments.
  4. The ban may be extended to interstate domestic sales.

For more information about the update on the ivory ban, read the complete report from the League.



About the author

Ann Drinan
Ann Drinan

Ann Drinan, Senior Editor, has been a member of the Hartford Symphony viola section for over 30 years. She is a former Chair of the Orchestra Committee, former member of the HSO Board, and has served on many HSO committees. She is also the Executive Director of CONCORA (CT Choral Artists), a professional chorus based in Hartford and New Britain, founded by Artistic Director Richard Coffey. Ann was a member of the Advisory Board of the Symphony Orchestra Institute (SOI), and was the HSO ROPA delegate for 14 years, serving as both Vice President and President of ROPA. In addition to playing the viola and running CONCORA, Ann is a professional writer and editor, and has worked as a consultant and technical writer for software companies in a wide variety of industries for over 3 decades. (She worked for the Yale Computer Science Department in the late 70s, and thus has been on the Internet, then called the DARPAnet, since 1977!) She is married to Algis Kaupas, a sound recordist, and lives a block from Long Island Sound in Branford CT. Together they create websites for musicians: shortbeachwebdesign.com.

Ann holds a BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and an MA in International Relations from Yale University.

Read Ann Drinan's blog here. web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/author/ann-drinan

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