Australian Government Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, 2010
- How to export or import crocodilian (crocodile, alligator, caiman and gavial) products (PDF - 278 KB)
This fact sheet provides information on how to legally export or import crocodilian specimens from and to Australia. It should be read in conjunction with the general information sheets entitled How to export or import 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 protect targeted species against overexploitation, and protects 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 (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.
Crocodilians and CITES
Crocodilians include all alligators, caimans, crocodiles, gavials and other members of the order Crocodylia. The leather of these species is highly sought after by the fashion industry. Crocodilian specimens are also traded as meat and hunting trophies.
All crocodilian species have been included in CITES Appendix I or II in response to the decline in some wild populations as a result of unregulated international trade. Some more common crocodilian species are included in Appendix II because they are so difficult to distinguish from more endangered species.
A permit issued by the department is generally needed to legally export crocodilian specimens. Both Australian native species of crocodile are included in CITES Appendix II.
A permit may be issued for the export of crocodilian specimens for personal purposes, unless the specimens are live, are listed on CITES Appendix I, or have been acquired or kept illegally.
A permit may be issued for the export of crocodilian specimens for commercial purposes if they are derived from an approved source (see below).
A re-export permit may be issued for the export of crocodilian specimens that have been legally imported into Australia, subject to any conditions legally imposed at the time of import.
The export of live native animals is strictly regulated for conservation and welfare reasons. Exports of live native crocodilian specimens for personal or commercial purposes are not permitted. Exports of live non-native crocodilian specimens are only permitted under certain circumstances. Please contact the department for more information.
Approved sources for export
The following approved sources apply to exports of crocodilian specimens for commercial purposes:
- Appendix I species — captive breeding operation registered with the CITES Secretariat.
- Other regulated species — captive breeding operations, wildlife trade operations and wildlife trade management plans approved by the department.
Currently, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have approved state level wildlife trade management plans in place. Queensland has an approved captive breeding licensing regime in place. If the source of the specimen is not approved, please contact the department for further information.
A permit issued by the department is generally needed to legally import crocodilian specimens.
If the specimens are listed in CITES Appendix II, an export permit must be acquired from the exporting country's CITES management authority before any application for an Australian import permit. A copy of the export permit will be required to support the import permit application.
The import of live animals into Australia is strictly regulated. However, some animals are suitable for live import without a permit.
Species or specimens listed under Part 1 of the EPBC Act List of specimens suitable for live import do not need a permit. Species or specimens listed under Part 2 cannot be imported without a permit.
Live specimens not included in either Part 1 or 2 of the list may not be imported under any circumstances.
State governments may impose additional restrictions on the import of live animals.
Special permits and exemptions
A permit is not needed to legally export or import up to four manufactured crocodilian products carried in accompanied baggage for personal purposes. However, to help with customs clearances, the CITES management authority of Australia has instituted personal baggage permits.
Non-live specimens of CITES Appendix II listed species may be exported 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. Some fields on the reverse side of these permits must be completed by the exporter at the time of export.
Specimens of CITES listed species acquired before the provisions of CITES applied to that species are not subject to normal permitting requirements, and 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?
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 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: