“Earlier this year, US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell had announced that the federal Fish & Wildlife Service would ban commercial trade of elephant ivory to protect African elephants from an escalating poaching crisis that is killing tens of thousands of animals a year,” writes Patrick Sullivan in November issue of Strings magazine. “In February, the government took the first step in this process by tightening restrictions on the import and export of products containing ivory.… Since most bows more than 40 years old contain elephant ivory tips, and some have ivory frogs and buttons, the new rules stood to affect hundreds of thousands of bows.… Following an anguished outcry, Fish & Wildlife announced changes in May aimed at allowing musicians to travel with musical instruments and bows containing ivory.… The League of American Orchestras’ Heather Noonan is glad to see Fish & Wildlife taking steps to help traveling musicians. ‘But the bigger challenge is actually putting that permit into practice,’ she says. ‘Among administration officials, there seems to be universal agreement that this is a problem and that there are solutions,’ she says. ‘The question is how long will it take. My fear is that it will be too long in coming to avoid disrupting international musical travel.’ ” The article offers tips for travel with instruments containing ivory, including a link to the League’s website.

Posted October 10, 2014