Tourist souvenirs - Does your luggage break wildlife laws?

If in doubt - check it out

Know before you go - how does the law affect you?

Some tourist souvenirs can threaten the most endangered species. You may be unaware that you are breaking the law by buying them or taking them from one country to another. For example, Tabua (whale tooth) and turtle shell (marine turtle) are both made from threatened animals.

Sometimes traders will not tell you the truth about what their product is made from or where they obtained it. If you buy something locally, it does not necessarily mean you can take it overseas.

Don't be fooled by statements like, "Believe me, it's OK".

If you intend to buy or travel with wildlife products, contact the appropriate government departments before you leave or enter a country to find out if you need a permit.

For more information read: If in doubt, check it out!

See also:

Without the correct permit, your product will be seized by border control officials. You may be subject to penalties or fines.

The Australian Government Department of the Environment and New Zealand's Department of Conservation have jointly produced a series of brochures for Pacific Island countries.

The brochures are modelled on an existing Australian publication If in doubt - check it out, and are aimed at educating the public about the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) regulations.

Translated into seven Pacific languages - Samoan, Tongan, Fijian, Tok Pisin (Papua New Guinea), Palauan, Pijin (Solomon Islands) and Bislama (Vanuatu) - the seven brochures are being distributed to countries throughout the Oceania Pacific region.

Copies of the brochure can be obtained by contacting us at or phone +61 (02) 6274 2302.

Download the Oceania brochures

Contacts in Australia

Department of  the Environment
Wildlife Trade Regulation
Telephone: +61 2 6274 1900
Facsimile: +61 2 6274 1921

Contacts in New Zealand

Department of Conservation
Telephone: +64 (4) 307 9279
Facsimile: +64 (4) 377 2919
Email: endangered-species/

Contacts in the region

Check the CITES website