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Traders' Stall, Ecuador © Metropolitan Police Wildlife Crime Unit

Travelling Abroad

If you intend to travel abroad and intend to pick up a wildlife species or some product made from it, please consider the following carefully.

  • Based on international rules set out under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), it is illegal to bring into the UK any endangered plant, animal or bird or products made from them. Prohibited items include tourist souvenirs made from lizards, snake or crocodile skins, ivory, corals and marine turtle shells. You may be entitled to bring back some CITES species, if you have a CITES import permit and if they are intended for your personal use. If you bring in CITES regulated goods illegally into the UK, you run the risk of Customs impounding the items. You may also face an unlimited fine or custodial term. Contact the Animal Health’s Wildlife Licensing and Registration Service on 44 (0)117 372 8691/8774 or wildlife.licensing@animalhealth.gsi.gov.uk for more information on CITES regulated species.
  • Apart from CITES rules, it is also illegal to bring in non-native species (species not ordinarily resident in the UK) or to release or allow them to escape into the wild.
  • The country, you are visiting may also have its own local rules on wildlife protection. Check with the appropriate authorities before you do any thing that might disturb or harm wildlife.


The Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA) 1981

The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) Regulations 1997

The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) (Amendment) Regulations 2005

Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC) 2006

The Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement) (Amendment) Regulations 2007

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