(a) The prohibitions defined in subparts C and D of this part 17 shall not apply to any activity involving endangered or threatened wildlife which was held in captivity or in a controlled environment on December 28, 1973: Provided,
(1) That the purposes of such holding were not contrary to the purposes of the Act; and
(2) That the wildlife was not held in the course of a commercial activity.
On January 25, 1974, a tourist buys a stuffed hawksbill turtle (an endangered species listed since June, 1970), in a foreign country. On December 28, 1973, the stuffed turtle had been on display for sale. The tourist imports the stuffed turtle into the United States on January 26, 1974. This is a violation of the Act since the stuffed turtle was held for commercial purposes on December 28, 1973.
On December 27, 1973 (or earlier), a tourist buys a leopard skin coat (the leopard has been listed as endangered since March 1972) for his wife in a foreign country. On January 5, he imports it into the United States. He has not committed a violation since on December 28, 1973, he was the owner of the coat, for personal purposes, and the chain of commerce had ended with the sale on the 27th. Even if he did not finish paying for the coat for another year, as long as he had possession of it, and he was not going to resell it, but was using it for personal purposes, the Act does not apply to that coat.
On or before December 28, 1973, a hunter kills a leopard legally in Africa. He has the leopard mounted and imports it into the United States in March 1974. The importation is not subject to the Act. The hunter has not engaged in a commercial activity, even though he bought the services of a guide, outfitters, and a taxidermist to help him take, preserve, and import the leopard. This applies even if the trophy was in the possession of the taxidermist on December 28, 1973.
On January 15, 1974, a hunter kills a leopard legally in Africa. He has the leopard mounted and imports it into the United States in June 1974. This importation is a violation of the Act since the leopard was not in captivity or a controlled environment on December 28, 1973.
(b) Service officers or Customs officers may refuse to clear endangered or threatened wildlife for importation into or exportation from the United States, pursuant to § 14.53 of this subchapter, until the importer or exporter can demonstrate that the exemption referred to in this section applies. Exempt status may be established by any sufficient evidence, including an affidavit containing the following:
(1) The affiant's name and address;
(2) Identification of the affiant;
(3) Identification of the endangered or threatened wildlife which is the subject of the affidavit;
(4) A statement by the affiant that to the best of his knowledge and belief, the endangered or threatened wildlife which is the subject of the affidavit was in captivity or in a controlled environment on December 28, 1973, and was not being held for purposes contrary to the Act or in the course of a commercial activity;
(5) A statement by the affiant in the following language:
The foregoing is principally based on the attached exhibits which, to the best of my knowledge and belief, are complete, true and correct. I understand that this affidavit is being submitted for the purpose of inducing the Federal Government to recognize an exempt status regarding (insert description of wildlife), under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543), and regulations promulgated thereunder, and that any false statements may subject me to the criminal penalties of 18 U.S.C. 1001.
(6) As an attachment, records or other available evidence to show:
(i) That the wildlife in question was being held in captivity or in a controlled environment on December 28, 1973;
(ii) The purpose for which the wildlife was being held; and
(iii) The nature of such holding (to establish that no commercial activity was involved).
(c) This section applies only to wildlife born on or prior to December 28, 1973. It does not apply to the progeny of any such wildlife born after December 28, 1973.