Coping with the limits on travel with instruments containing ivory

Posted on: January 20, 2015

“To stave off the decline of endangered species populations and curb wildlife trafficking, the Obama administration has put in stiff restrictions on the transport of items containing African elephant ivory and other materials into the U.S.,” writes Elizabeth Bloom in Saturday’s (1/18) Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But this well-intentioned policy has had some unintended consequences: It’s created a nightmare for traveling classical musicians who have small amounts of elephant ivory, Brazilian rosewood and tortoiseshell in their instruments, which were made when these species were plentiful and poaching laws or deforestation concerns were nonexistent.… The League of American Orchestras has led a group of music organizations advocating for accommodations to these bans for musical instruments. With dozens of its own members potentially affected, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has been taking note of the federal requirements.… Few would argue against the crackdown on wildlife trafficking. The outlook is bleak for the African elephant, and it’s even worse for tigers and rhinos.… ‘Obviously, the music community is completely supportive of the goals of conservation’ [League of American Orchestras’ Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan] said. ‘Our hope is the policies can be adjusted so that musicians can reliably navigate their usual travel, and we have good reason to believe that kind of policy change can happen without impinging on conservation efforts.’ ” In a video, Kristen Linfante, executive director of Chamber Music Pittsburgh and violist in Apollo’s Fire, talks about the ivory in her bow and the newly enforced rules making it difficult for her to travel with it internationally.

Posted January 20, 2015