Tetherin (BST-2 or CD317) is an interferon-inducible transmembrane protein that inhibits virus release from infected cells. Whereas HIV-1 Vpu and HIV-2 Env counteract human tetherin, most SIVs use Nef to antagonize the tetherin proteins of their nonhuman primate hosts. Here, we show that compensatory changes in the cytoplasmic domain of SIV gp41, acquired by a nef-deleted virus that regained a pathogenic phenotype in infected rhesus macaques, restore resistance to tetherin. These changes facilitate virus release in the presence of rhesus tetherin, but not human tetherin, and enhance virus replication in interferon-treated primary lymphocytes. The substitutions in gp41 result in a selective physical association with rhesus tetherin, and the internalization and sequestration of rhesus tetherin by a mechanism that depends on a conserved endocytosis motif in gp41. These results are consistent with HIV-2 Env antagonism of human tetherin and suggest that the ability to oppose tetherin is important for lentiviral pathogenesis.