Don't Go It Alone.

Become a Member

Instruments Containing Ivory or Endangered Species

Many musicians have instruments containing ivory or other endangered species material—which makes travel potentially perplexing. If your instrument contains ivory, Brazilian rosewood, tortoiseshell, or another endangered species, you will need documentation before crossing international borders. Please visit the US Fish and Wildlife Service for certificate before traveling.

The League of American Orchestras published the article “Know Your Bow: Tips for Owners and Users of Pernambuco Bows” (June 2023). It provides updated international guidance for the tens of thousands of AFM string players who need to understand rules for traveling with their bows outside of the US.  Additional information for makers and sellers of bows, can be found here.

The AFM continues to work with the Association of British Orchestras, The Independent Society of Musicians (ISM), International Alliance of Violin and Bow Makers for Endangered Species, International Federation of Musicians (FIM), League of American Orchestras, Musicians’ Union (MU), National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM), Pearle* Live Performance Europe to support international efforts to update the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) treaty.

The reform, led by League of American Orchestras Vice President for Advocacy Heather Noonan, in cooperation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, examines more effective ways to protect endangered species of fauna and wild flora while protecting the rights of musicians transporting their musical instruments around the globe.

You do not need documentation to travel with bows containing pernambuco wood as long as these instruments do not also contain ivory or other endangered species material. This US Department of the Interior letter details that finished bows made of pernambuco wood do not require documentation. Please bookmark or print this letter to make traveling easier.