FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

From traders

From the general public

From the CITES community (MAs, SAs, scientists, etc.)

From students

How can I know whether I need a permit to import or export wildlife specimens?

Import, export and re-export of any live animal or plant of a species listed in the CITES Appendices (or of any part or derivative of such animal or plant) requires a permit or certificate. To find out whether a species is listed in the Appendices, you can check in the CITES-listed species database of this website, using either the scientific name or the common name of the species. Alternatively, you can also check with the national agency (known as the "Management Authority") of your country whether the species you are interested in needs a permit. They may be able to identify the species for you if you are not sure what it is.

Where can I find the contact details of the national agency in charge of the implementation of CITES?

The national agency responsible for implementing CITES in each country is called the Management Authority. The contact details of each Management Authority can be found on the National contacts page on this website.

Do animals that were bred in captivity also require permits?

Yes. However, if a commercial breeder of a CITES Appendix-I species fulfils certain conditions and is registered with the CITES Secretariat, specimens from the breeding operation may be treated as if they are of Appendix-II species, meaning that they can be traded commercially (permit requirement is not waived). If the animals were not bred for commercial purposes they may be traded simply with a certificate of captive breeding. Click here for further information.

How many species are listed in the CITES Appendices?

Around 25,000 plant species and 5,000 animal species are covered by the provisions of the Convention, in the following proportions:

1) Appendix I: about 600 animal species and 300 plant species;
2) Appendix II: about 1,400 animal species and 25,000 plant species; and
3) Appendix III: about 270 animal species and 30 plant species.

These figures are only estimates because, for instance, even though the whole orchid family and most cacti are included in Appendix I or II, there does not exist any complete list of all orchids and cacti in the world. For more information on the Appendices click here.

I am not familiar with the scientific (Latin) names used in the documents, how can I find the common names of these species?

There is a CITES-listed species database which you can search by common names.

Could I have information on certain endangered species?

The CITES Secretariat does not provide biological information on endangered species or conservation efforts to protect such species in the wild. Please address your question according to your focus of interest. If you are looking for statistical information on trade in wildlife, either legal or illegal, you should contact UNEP-WCMC. As an additional source of information, look at the website of IUCN.

I think it is appalling to kill elephants so that their tusks can be traded. Why does the CITES Secretariat allow this to happen?

The CITES Secretariat does not determine the policies of the Convention. This is done by the member countries (Parties) of the Convention at meetings of the Conference of the Parties, which are held every 2-3 years. Each Party is entitled to vote at such meetings. If you wish your opinion to be taken into account by your country, when it determines how to vote, you should contact the relevant Management Authority. In the meantime, please visit the Programmes section of our website, where you will find information on MIKE and ETIS, which are programmes designed to collect information regarding elephants and illegal trade in ivory.

I am deeply interested in the environment, how can I become a member of the CITES Secretariat?

In common with all United Nations' offices, the Secretariat has a policy of employing qualified individuals who already have substantial international work experience. Vacancies in the Secretariat are not common. However, when job opportunities arise they are advertised on the UN Careers website. In the meantime, we suggest that you initially obtain work experience at a national level. You should contact the Management Authority of your country for advice regarding opportunities.

Do I need an official authorization to use the CITES logo?

Please see our copyright and credits policy.

How can I view the annexes to the documents available on the website?

If the documents you are viewing are available in different formats (html, Word, PDF or Txt), make sure you access the html version. This will allow you to see the hyperlinks to the annexes highlighted in blue, and then just click on those hyperlinks.

How can I find information on which countries have joined CITES at what time, and whether they have accepted the Bonn and Gaborone amendments?

See the Member countries section for this kind of information.

May I use the photographs shown in the Photo Gallery?

Please see our copyright and credits policy.

How do I apply for internship at the CITES Secretariat?

Please see the page concerning the CITES Secretariat's internship programme.