Subject:  Administrative Actions to Strengthen U.S. Trade Controls for Elephant Ivory, Rhinoceros Horn, and Parts and Products of Other Species Listed Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Sec. 1 What is the purpose of this Order?

a. The United States released the first National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking (PDF) on February 11, 2014.  One of the three strategic priorities of the National Strategy is to strengthen domestic and global enforcement, including assessing related laws, regulations, and enforcement tools.

b. This Order establishes policy and procedure for U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees to implement the National Strategy as it relates to the trade in elephant ivory, rhinoceros horn, and parts and products of other ESA-listed species.

c. The Order supersedes all previous policies on the June 9, 1989, African Elephant Conservation Act (AECA) import moratorium.

Sec. 2 What will Service employees do under this Order?

a. Service employees must strictly implement and enforce all criteria under the ESA antique exception (16 U.S.C. 1539 (h)). The ESA requires that any person claiming the benefit of a statutory exemption has the burden of proving that the exemption is applicable (16 U.S.C. 1539 (g)) so the burden of proof is on the importer, exporter, or seller to definitively show that an item meets all of the criteria under the exception. The burden of proof standard is high to ensure that items that people claim are antiques under the ESA exception are authentic and qualify for the exception.  See Appendix 1 for additional guidance.

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