An American man will serve a prison sentence and has been fined over $27,000 for trafficking elephant ivory into New Zealand.

Shahram Roohparvar, 61, pleaded guilty in a California court to falsifying documents to illegally sell and ship ivory to a man in Napier, Patrick Cooper.

Cooper, a natural therapist and carver, admitted five charges of importing African elephant ivory without a permit. He was fined $8000 in the Napier District Court in December.

On top of Roohparvar's three-month prison sentence and $27,400 fine, Roohparvar was also sentenced to three months' home detention and ordered to pay $27,400 to the Lacey Act Reward Fund.


Department of Conservation investigator Dylan Swain said he welcomed the sentence imposed on Roohparvar.

"The successful prosecutions of Cooper in New Zealand and Roohparvar in the United States are the result of agencies in both countries working together to police the illegal trade in endangered species.

"DOC and other government agencies in New Zealand worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to investigate Roohparvar illegally selling elephant ivory to Cooper."

Cooper is the second person to be convicted for importing ivory into New Zealand after Jiezhen Jiang was fined $12,000 in 2013.