Identification Guide for Ivory and Ivory Substitutes

The Identification Guide for Ivory and Ivory Substitutes is an updated and expanded tool to help law enforcement officers, forensic scientists, online technology company enforcement staff and wildlife trade management authorities distinguish between types of ivories and their substitutes. This Guide (which was last updated in 1999), includes detailed procedures, visual aids and instructions for recognizing ivory products, particularly those that have undergone heavy alterations such as carving and painting.

This Guide includes details on the most relevant species— elephants, mammoths, whales, narwhals and hippos— as well as more extensive visual materials to aid enforcement officers in identifying elephant ivories from ivory substitutes, such as plastics and vegetable ivory. The document also addresses the sale of ivory products online, where an increasing share of illegal elephant ivory trade is now taking place and where identification of static digital images can be challenging. There is also reprinted information summarizing modern instrumental methods to identify ivories using laboratory equipment and techniques.

The authors of this Guide include morphological forensics experts from the US Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Forensic Laboratory.

For additional information contact [email protected] or [email protected].