Traveling with instruments, while complying with ivory rules

Posted on: January 4, 2016

“It’s a mere quarter of a gram of ivory—about 1/100 of an ounce—embedded at the bottom tip of many violin bows. But because it comes from the tusks of the African elephant, its presence—often on the bow tips of viola, cello and bass players as well—has become a major headache for U.S. orchestras and soloists leaving the country for tours overseas,” writes T.R. Goldman in Friday’s (1/1) Washington Post. “Overlapping state, federal and international rules designed to stop the horrific poaching of the world’s largest land animal have resulted in a regulatory web that has enveloped” orchestras, artisans who make bows, and “thousands of professional string players … First, a musician who wants to go abroad and whose instrument contains ivory needs to obtain a CITES musical-instrument certificate, or ‘passport … proof that the African elephant that yielded the ivory used in the instrument was ‘removed from the wild’ before Feb. 26, 1976, the date African elephants were listed [as endangered].… But … ‘that’s the least burdensome part of the process,’ said Heather Noonan, the chief lobbyist for the League of American Orchestras.… ‘Folks just want to know how they can get through this process so their tours aren’t jeopardized.’ ” Click here for detailed information from the League concerning travel with instruments containing ivory and other endangered material.

Posted January 4, 2016