Trade in protected species: international convention

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty protecting wild plants or animals. It sets controls on international trade so that the species are not harmed. CITES protection applies to endangered animals and plants in any form:

  • alive or dead
  • whole or in parts
  • or any products made from them

A permit is needed to import or export CITES protected species.

CITES has 3 levels of protection:

  • Level 1 (Appendix I) are species at risk. Commercial trade is generally not allowed.
  • Level 2 (Appendix II) are species that need controls to protect them. Trade is possible with the right permits.
  • Level 3 (Appendix III) are species at risk in a country needing help monitoring the trade.



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