Endangered species and trade
Table of contents
- International Convention on WildlifeTrade
- WAPPRITA - Canada's Wildlife Trade Law
- What you need to know and do
- What happens if you do not comply with the law?
- For more information on CITES and WAPPRITA.
Do you buy, sell, import and/or export wildlife species or products that contain wildlife parts or derivatives?
- An importer or exporter of wildlife animal or plant species, either live specimens or products that contain their parts and/or derivatives?
- A breeder/propagator of wildlife animal or plant species who imports or exports internationally?
- A store owner who sells wildlife animal or plant species, either live specimens or products that contain their parts or derivatives? Do you have a pet or plant store (for example: plant nursery, florist)? Do you sell traditional or herbal medicines? Do you have a second-hand store, pawn shop or auction house?
In order to avoid contributing to illegal trade in endangered species, having your items confiscated at the border, or receiving tickets, fines or prosecution, it is your responsibility to know and comply with applicable wildlife trade regulations.
International Convention on Wildlife Trade
CITES - Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
To prevent over-exploitation of wildlife species through international trade and illegal poaching, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was formed on July 1, 1975. CITES is an international agreement to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. The Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA) is the legislation through which Canada meets its international obligations under CITES.Currently, there are over 170 member countries that are parties to the Convention. Over 5 000 animal species and over 29 000 plant species are listed under CITES
Imports and exports of species listed under CITES are controlled through a permit system.
It is illegal to bring a CITES-listed species or its parts and derivatives across Canadian and many international borders without the appropriate CITES permits. CITES-listed animals and plants are classified into one of three appendices, depending upon how endangered they are.
WAPPRITA - Canada's Wildlife Trade Law
In Canada, CITES is administered by Environment Canada and is implemented under WAPPRIITA.
Under sections 6 to 9 of WAPPRIITA, it is unlawful to:
- Import or possess any wild species of animal or plant, including their parts and derivatives that were obtained or exported illegally from another country. This is not restricted to CITES-listed species.
- Import or export CITES-listed species without the appropriate permits.
- In most cases, offer for sale or possess CITES Appendix I wild species.
Importing and exporting includes shipping by air, sea and rail, by mail and courier, and in personal luggage.
WAPPRIITA Schedule I
Includes all species listed in the CITES appendices (Appendix I, II and III)
|CITES Appendix||Classification||CITES Permit Requirements||Species Examples|
|Appendix I||Species threatened with extinction that are or may be affected by trade.||CITES Export Permit OR a CITES Re-Export Certificate from country of export/re-export AND a CITES Import Permit from country of import.
NOTE: Trade in these species for commercial purposes is generally prohibited.
|Appendix II||Species that are not currently considered threatened with extinction but could become so if their trade is not strictly regulated. Includes species that are listed because they are similar in appearance to other listed species.||CITES Export Permit OR a CITES Re-Export Certificate from country of export/re-export.||
|Appendix III||Species under special management in certain countries to prevent or restrict exploitation.||CITES Export Permit OR a CITES Certificate of Origin from country of export/re-export.||
WAPPRIITA Schedule II
Lists the animal and plant species requiring an import permit. These species are NOT listed in the CITES appendices. These are species that may pose a risk to Canadian ecosystems.
WAPPRIITA Schedule III
Lists the CITES species that are recognized as endangered or threatened within Canada.
You must have all necessary permits before you bring a CITES-listed species, or an item with a part/derivative of a CITES-listed species, across an international border. The complete list of CITES member countries and contact information or the Endangered Species and the International Traveller can be found on CITES.org website.
When an animal is listed under CITES, permit requirements apply to live specimens and all parts or derivatives of that species. When a plant is listed under CITES, permit requirements apply to live specimens and all parts or derivatives of that species unless the listing is annotated to specify the regulated items.
Parts and derivatives can be included in items such as clothing, jewellery, musical instruments, herbal medicines, cosmetic creams and food products.
Did You Know?
- All cats, except for the domestic cat, are protected under CITES. Many spotted cats are Appendix I species.
- All but four species of parrots are regulated under CITES.
- Orchids account for the majority of the species listed in the CITES appendices.
What you need to know and do
- It is your responsibility to know if you are conducting trade in wildlife species (flora and fauna, and their derivatives) listed in CITES appendices, as well as to follow all of the requirements to legally transport and/or have these species or products in commerce. This includes complying with any other applicable wildlife regulations that apply in the jurisdictions in which the species is transported, imported or exported.
- You must have all necessary permits before you transport, import or export a listed wildlife species, or an item containing a part/derivative of a listed wildlife species.
- All CITES permits must be presented to, and validated by, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the border. CITES permits not validated by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) at the time of import or export will be considered invalid, and could result in the shipment being stopped and/or confiscated.
- In most cases, commercial trade of CITES Appendix I WILD species is prohibited. Limited commercial trade of captive-bred CITES Appendix I animal species is allowed only from CITES-registered facilities.
- Commercial trade in cultivated CITES Appendix I plants and CITES Appendix II or III species or products containing their parts or derivatives is allowed, but only if the necessary CITES permits were obtained before the importation or exportation occurs.
- It is important to keep your CITES permits. If you are selling CITES-listed species, make sure to ask the importer to give you a copy of the CITES permits. Inspections by wildlife officers can be made at any time, so keep a record to prove that the specimens or items were legally imported.
- All of the same legal, permit and validation requirements apply to online and mail order imports and exports.
- Exercise Caution - Just because something is available for sale does not mean that it is legal.
- Be aware that vendors, although selling legal items, may not be aware of the permit requirements for their import or export. Despite what they may say, it is advisable to check for yourself. You do not want a surprise at the border.
If your business relates to traditional or herbal medicines, you can also refer to the Environment Canada brochure entitled Animal and Plant Ingredients in Traditional Medicine.
Are there other requirements?
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has various requirements for the importation and exportation of live animals and plants, as well as for various animal and plant products and by-products for human consumption.Products for human consumption are also regulated by Health Canada through product-specific regulatory programs, which are administered under the authority of the Food and Drugs Act and Food and Drug Regulations.When shipping live animals by air, you must comply with the International Air Transport Association Live Animals Regulations to protect their health. Check with the airline for more information. For other means of transport, you are to follow the CITES Guidelines for Transport.Be aware that Canada's Species at Risk Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 and provincial/territorial regulations also protect wildlife species by including provisions relating to the possession, buying, selling and trading of Canadian species. It is your responsibility to comply with the applicable Canadian wildlife regulations.
Are there exemptions from requiring cites permits to import/export wildlife parts or derivatives?
Yes. There are non-commercial exemptions for souvenirs, and personal and household goods, but restrictions apply. Please refer to the Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations, or the Environment Canada's website.
What happens if you do not comply with the law?
The goods will be seized, and you may receive a warning or a ticket, or fines of up to $150,000 and/or up to fiveyears in jail for individuals, and fines of up to $300,000 for businesses. A separate fine can be imposed for every illegal item. For instance, an individual could be charged for every box of a product containing endangered species parts or derivatives. Beginning in late 2012, serious offences may be subject to a broader range of penalties and higher fines. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the Environment Canada Inquiry Centre at email@example.com or 1-800-668-6767.
For more information on CITES and WAPPRITA.
For information on how and where to apply for a CITES permit, contact Environment Canada at: firstname.lastname@example.orgManagement Authority
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
Canadian Wildlife Service
Ottawa ON K1A 0H3
Telephone: 1-800-668-6767 (toll-free number)
or 819-997-1840 (National Capital Region)
The information presented in this brochure is not to be interpreted as legal advice. If there is a discrepancy with the information presented in the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act, the legislation prevails.
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