There is a large number of endangered species listed under CITES Appendix I. These are items that cannot be transported across international borders under any circumstances without a special licence. A few of these are materials that are occasionally found on violin family instruments and bows that pre-date the CITES listing and include, for example, elephant ivory, tortoiseshell, Brazilian rosewood, etc.
When we bring these materials to the attention of travelling musicians the response is often “I’ve travelled before with these items and didn’t have any problem!” This is a bit like saying “I always drive home from the pub after a few beers and I haven’t been picked up yet!”
It is an offence to travel with restricted items, and, if caught, there’s a better than average chance that the offending item/s will be confiscated by customs authorities. Some countries apply stronger restrictions than CITES and so it is possible that these countries may not recognise the exemptions allowed by lower CITES appendices, i.e. Appendices II and III. Musicians should therefore make themselves aware of any restricted materials on their instruments or bows.
Whilst the AVMA endeavours to offer prompt and accurate information for travelling musicians, no responsibility can be taken for the veracity of said information. It is the sole responsibility of the traveller, or their agent, to check the requirements and legality of crossing international borders with instruments or bows that may have parts or components made from materials which currently attract travel restrictions.