Importing or exporting butterfly specimens
Butterflies are traded by insect collectors and often bought as souvenirs by tourists.
Many highly sought–after butterfly specimens have been included in CITES Appendix I and II in response to the decline in some wild populations as a result of unregulated international trade. Some more common butterfly species are included in Appendix II because they are so difficult to distinguish from more endangered species.
Find out if you need a permit before you import or export butterfly specimens
- You will generally need a permit to legally export butterfly specimens that are Australian native species, CITES listed species, or both.
A permit may be issued for the export of butterfly specimens for personal purposes, unless the specimens are live, are CITES Appendix I species or have been acquired or kept illegally.
A permit may be issued for the export of butterfly specimens for commercial purposes if they are derived from an approved source such as a captive breeding program, wildlife trade operation or wildlife trade management plan.
- Specimens of a CITES Appendix I listed species must be sourced from a captive breeding operation registered with the CITES Secretariat.
- If the specimens are CITES Appendix II species, you must get an export permit from the exporting country's CITES Management Authority before applying for an Australian import permit. You will need to supply a copy of the export permit in support of your import permit application.
- If you are importing non–live specimens in accompanied baggage for personal purposes, and the CITES Management Authority of the country of export has issued an export permit you will not need an import permit from this department.
Importing live specimens
- For live specimens where the species is listed under Part 2 of the list of specimens suitable for live import you will need to obtain an import permit prior to importing the specimens.
- For live specimens where the species is listed under Part 1 of the list of specimens suitable for live import you do not require an import from this department in order to import the specimens into Australia (however, you will need to check with the State or Territory into which you plan to import the specimen(s) to check if they have any import requirements).
- Live specimens where the species is not listed on the list of specimens suitable for live import cannot be imported into Australia under any circumstance.
Special permits and exemptions
You do not need an export permit for up to five mounted, non–CITES native Australian butterflies that have been obtained from a captive breeding program approved by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, and are carried in your accompanied baggage.
You may export or import specimens of CITES listed species that were acquired before CITES under a pre–CITES certificate issued by the CITES management authority of the country of export.
You may export non–live specimens of CITES Appendix II species as personal effects, in accompanied baggage, under a personal baggage permit. These are often ordered by manufacturers and wholesalers of tourist souvenirs and supplied at point of sale. But you will need to complete some fields on the reverse side of these permits.