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Musical instruments will get passports to travel

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A new system designed to make it easier for orchestras to travel will allow for passports to be issues for instruments made from endangered animals.iStock

Musicians who have instruments made from endangered animals, like pianos made with ivory keys or violin bows crafted from tortoise shell, could find international travel a bit easier, thanks to new trade rules that will require a passport for their instruments.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) agreed to a multi-entry system based on a U.S. proposal to issue passports good for three years, the U.K.'s Telegraph newspaper reported.

Prior to this, musicians needed a new permit for each time they traveled and were forced to do such drastic things as remove all the ivory from the piano in order to transport the instrument.

"This is monumental because it facilitates movement of musicians, particularly orchestras," Bryan Arroyo, head of the U.S. trade delegation that proposed the scheme told the Telegraph.

A British expert, who wished to remain anonymous, told the AFP: "No one wants to harm elephants but it seems a little ridiculous to have to apply for a CITES (permit) for a 120-year old piano."