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Can I sell my stuffed polar bear, rhino horn and whale teeth?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a lot of laws that govern what we are allowed to buy and sell in the United States. Usually, if you are wondering whether or not it is legal to sell an item, it warrants investigating the law on the matter and possibly consulting with an attorney. In the case of rhino horns, stuffed polar bears and whale teeth, the law is pretty clear.

Rhino horns can be found in the form of dagger handles, libation cups, trophies, carvings and jewelry. If you are in possession of a rhino horn, the item cannot be sold internationally; however, there could be certain exceptions. If you would like to import a rhino horn into the United States, you will definitely require a permit. If you are in possession of a rhino horn inside the United States after import, selling it is permitted unless restrictions were placed on the item at the time of importation.

If you have a whale tooth or a whale bone, it is vital that you contact the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration before selling the item. There are numerous types and varieties of whales, so it is important to identify what kind of whale it came from before knowing how the law applies. Importing the items definitely requires a permit.

Importing or exporting a stuffed polar bear is also going to require a permit. If the polar bear is considered "pre-Act" (meaning it was bought before 1972), then you can sell it. If the stuffed bear was bought inside the United States, and it is an authentic Alaskan Native handicraft, you are also permitted to sell it.

When in doubt, North Carolina residents should ask for assistance regarding the sale of questionable items to avoid the chance of stiff criminal consequences relating to violating a federal law.

Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, "Can I sell it? A Guide to Wildlife and Plant Protection Laws" accessed Mar. 13, 2015

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