Learn more about the responsible, traditional and legal use of walrus ivory. Use these sharable materials to help raise awareness.
Alaska welcomes you to visit and celebrate its living traditions. Get more information about COVID-safe travel to Alaska.
Visitors and consumers are encouraged to support Alaska Native artists, their communities and their culture by purchasing ivory artwork.
You Can Buy Walrus Ivory
Federal law explicitly allows the sale and ownership of walrus ivory products when legally produced by Alaska Natives.
However, some states have banned all ivory, including walrus ivory. These “blanket ban” laws are well-intended and aim to help end elephant poaching, but the unintended consequences for Alaska Native communities have been severe. These laws also violate the federal Marine Mammals Protection Act. Alaska visitors and consumers are encouraged to check their own state’s laws.
Transporting Alaska Native Ivory Craftwork
Authentic Alaska Native artwork made of walrus ivory may be exported. Consumers should keep the receipt for any items purchased. The receipt should include the name and address of the vendor with clear identification that the item was purchased in the United States.
To determine whether an export permit is needed for travel out of the country, contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska at (907) 271-6198. Travelers should also check with the destination county as import permits also may be required.
View the Customs Guide to Buying Alaska Native Artwork for additional information.
How to Help
are urged to review their laws and make amendments that distinguish the type of ivory that is illegal, allowing for the continued use of legally harvested walrus, and prehistoric mammoth and mastodon ivory, as outlined in the federal Marine Mammals Protection Act of 1972.
are urged to pass legislation which prohibits any state or locality from banning the use or sale of walrus ivory that has been produced by an Alaska Native person. Federal lawmakers also are asked to encourage the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other appropriate federal agencies to work collaboratively with the Eskimo Walrus Commission, Kawerak, Inc. and other partners to address issues and concerns resulting from ivory bans.
Kawerak, Inc. is the Alaska Native regional non-profit corporation which represents 19 remote Alaska Native coastal communities. The Eskimo Walrus Commission is the co-management organization representing those communities’ interests in Pacific walrus.
are asked to encourage their state governments to further promote and protect the rights of indigenous peoples to pursue their economic, social and cultural traditions and customs. Those who live in states with ivory bans should contact their lawmakers and ask they amend their legislation to exclude walrus, mammoth and mastodon ivory.