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Fish, wildlife, and products made from them are subject to import and export restrictions, prohibitions, permits or certificates, and quarantine requirements. It is recommended that you contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before you depart if you plan to import or export any of the following: Wild birds, land or marine mammals, reptiles, fish, shellfish, mollusks, or invertebrates. Any part or product of the above, such as skins, tusks, bone, feathers, or eggs. Products or articles manufactured from wildlife or fish. Endangered species of wildlife, and products made from them, generally may not be imported or exported. You'll need a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service to import virtually all types of ivory, unless it's from a warthog. The Fish and Wildlife Service has so many restrictions and prohibitions on various kinds of ivory - Asian elephant, African elephant, whale, rhinoceros, seal, pre-Endangered Species Act, post-CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species), and many others - that they urge you to contact them before you even think of acquiring ivory in a foreign country. They can be reached at (800) 358-2104. But you may import an object made of ivory if it's an antique; that is, if it's at least 100 years old. You will need documentation that authenticates the age of the ivory. You may import other antiques containing wildlife parts with the same condition: they must be accompanied by documentation proving they are at least 100 years old. (Certain other requirements for antiques may apply.) For example: If you plan to buy such things as tortoiseshell jewelry, leather goods, or articles made from whalebone, ivory, skins, or fur, please, before you go, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Law Enforcement, P.O. Box 3247, Arlington, VA 22203-3247, or call (800) 358-2104. Hunters can get information on the limitations for importing and exporting migratory game birds from this office as well. Ask for the pamphlet Facts About Federal Wildlife Laws. The Fish and Wildlife Service has designated specific ports of entry to handle fish and wildlife entries. If you plan to import anything discussed in this section, please also contact the Customs Service. We'll tell you about designated ports and send you the brochure Pets and Wildlife, which describes the regulations we enforce for all agencies that oversee the importation of animals. Some states have fish and wildlife laws and regulations that are stricter than federal laws and regulations. If you're returning to such a state, be aware that the stricter state laws and regulations have priority. Similarly, the federal government does not allow you to import into the United States wild animals that were taken, killed, sold, possessed, or exported from another country if any of these acts violated foreign laws.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|