Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2010
This fact sheet provides information on how to legally export or import elephant products to and from Australia. It should be read in conjunction with the fact sheets entitled How to export or import wildlife and wildlife products and The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving Australian native wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps to protects targeted species against overexploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.
The Australian Government also works with other nations to protect wildlife globally, by implementing CITES (see CITES fact sheet mentioned above).
In Australia, the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under Part 13A of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act), which is administered by the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.
Regulation applies equally to individuals, commercial organisations and not-for-profit organisations.
Elephants and CITES
Elephant ivory has been highly sought after for jewellery and ornaments for centuries. Elephant specimens are also traded as hunting trophies and leather goods.
Both elephant species (African and Asian) have been included in the Appendices to CITES in response to a decline in their wild populations as a result of unregulated international trade. Under a stricter domestic measure, all populations of these species are treated under the EPBC Act as CITES Appendix I.
No elephant specimens may be exported for personal or commercial purposes, except under a pre-CITES certificate (see below).
No elephant specimens may be imported for personal or commercial purposes, except under a pre-CITES certificate (see below). Special import requirements may exist for conservation breeding and research.
Special permits and exemptions
Specimens of CITES-listed species acquired before the provisions of CITES applied to that species are not subject to normal permitting requirements. They may be exported or imported under a pre-CITES certificate issued by the CITES management authority of the country of export.
What else do I need to know?
Many other substances either intentionally or incidentally resemble elephant ivory. Be prepared to give customs officers and other officials an account of the nature and origin of any specimens made of such substances, to ensure that they are not seized unnecessarily.
Exports and imports of wildlife and wildlife products may also be subject to regulation under the Customs Act 1901 (administered by the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service) and the Quarantine Act 1908 (administered by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service). These organisations may be contacted through offices in each state capital, or through their head offices:
Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
5 Constitution Avenue
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6275 6666
Freecall: 1300 363 263
Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS)
GPO Box 858
Canberra ACT 2601
Telephone: 02 6272 3933
Freecall: 1800 020 504
Where can I get more information?
For more information on permits, please read the general information sheet entitled How to export or import wildlife and wildlife products, or contact the department at the address below:
Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
GPO BOX 787
Canberra ACT 2601
Phone: 02 6274 1900
Facsimile: 02 6274 1921
The following links may also be of use or interest: