Movement of plants and animals

Wildlife trade into and out of Australia

The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving Australian native wildlife by regulating international trade. This helps to protect targeted species against overexploitation, and Australian ecosystems against the introduction of invasive species.

Wildlife trade includes all movements of wildlife into and out of Australia, including:

  • commercial trade (buying and selling of plants and animals or items made from them)
  • non–commercial trade such as the international movement of animals and plants for research and exhibition
  • bringing in plant or animal specimens for personal use
  • taking Australian native animals out of Australia as pets
  • buying goods over the internet that come from plants and animals.

With its key national environment legislation—Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999—Australia strictly controls trade in:

In most cases, commercial trade in Australian native plants and animals, or internationally protected species under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), is only allowed if the specimen comes from an approved source. Commercial trade in live native mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians is not allowed.

Trade in live native animals, native specimens and CITES–listed specimens may be allowed for non–commercial uses such as research, education, exhibition or conservation breeding programs.

Permits are required for most commercial trade and non-commercial trade.

Please note that the Department of the Environment (the Department)  is responsible for regulating the movement of wildlife into and out of Australia i.e. international trade. Alternatively, State and Territory agencies regulate the movement of wildlife within Australia i.e. between states. State and Territory agencies may also choose to restrict international imports of some live animals and plants from entering their state/territory (this regulation is separate to the regulation undertaken by the Department). You should therefore ensure that you contact all appropriate agencies when trading wildlife.

For more information contact:

The Director
Wildlife Trade Regulation Section
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone: (02) 6274 1900

Facsimile: (02) 6274 1921