The sale and trade of ivory is still not really illegal in the US. What is illegal is to import or export “new” elephant ivory internationally. Elephant ivory that was in the country before the seventies can still be bought, sold and owned within the states. Also, many other types of ivory are legal to import and sell, with differing levels of regulation. Ivory is still obtained from hippo, warthog, and walrus teeth (walrus is only allowed for Alaskan natives). Sperm whale teeth fall under the same category as elephant tusks. For the teeth of extinct animals like mastodons and mammoths, there is no regulation.
The regulations that are in place come from a series of bills passed in the early 1970s.
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