CITES And African Trophies

Page Updated: Mar 2020

CITES and African Trophies - This is an overview of how CITES affects the importation and exportation of hunting trophies from Africa.

CITES Appendices

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between governments which aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. To achieve this it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 33,000 species of animals and plants.
  • CITES works by subjecting international trade in specimens of selected species to certain controls. These require that all import, export, re-export and introduction of species covered by the Convention has to be authorized through a system of permits.
  • The level of protection afforded to each species are classified into different appendices.
  • Appendix I, about 800 species, are species that are threatened with extinction and are or may be affected by trade. Any trade in these species requires export and import permits
  • Appendix II, about 32,500 species, are species that are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless trade in specimens of such species is subject to strict regulation in order to avoid utilization incompatible with their survival. International trade in specimens of Appendix II species may be authorized by the granting of an export permit or re-export certificate
  • Appendix III, about 170 species, are species that are listed after one member country has asked other CITES Parties for assistance in controlling trade in a species. The species are not necessarily threatened with extinction globally. In all member countries trade in these species is only permitted with an appropriate export permit and a certificate of origin.

CITES Export Quotas

  • These are usually established by each member State unilaterally but they can also be set by the Conference of the Parties, and they generally relate to a calendar year (1 January to 31 December).
  • Export quotas include the number of a particular species that may be exported as a sport hunting trophy. (There are other stipulated export quota for other animal products which don't concern hunters, such as live exports etc).

2020 CITES Appendices And Quota

Here is the CITES information pertaining to huntable African animals in African hunting countries only...

Get the latest 2020 CITES Appendices and Quota for African Game Animals

CITES Resources

Individual Country Regulation

All the CITES regulations seem quite straightforward but in addition to CITES, individual countries have made their own assessments of what constitutes an endangered or threatened species, either as a whole or only certain populations in certain countries.


USA Flag US Fish & Wildlife Service

The US Fish and Wildlife Service implements both CITES and the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the issuing, or not, of hunting trophy import permits.

Read more about USF&W 'enhancement permits' for African elephants.

  • The US Endangered Species Act (ESA) forbids the importation of hunting trophies of species listed as "endangered" unless imports "enhance" the survival of the species "in the wild".
  • The US Fish and Wildlife Service are issuing trophy imports very selectively on a permit by permit (case by case) basis.
  • The hunting and permit applications must satisfy all existing regulatory requirements, be part of a comprehensive program of the exporting country and be a net benefit to the species "in the wild". It also must not jeopardize the species.
  • The current ESA classifications of African game animals may also be found on the table 2020 CITES Appendices and Quota for African Game Animals.

USF&W Resources


Australia Flag Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

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 the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Australia has instituted strict domestic measures when it comes to allowing import of African hunting trophies.

  • No hunting trophies of CITES Appendix I species may be imported into Australia for personal or commercial purposes, except under a pre-CITES certificate.
  • All African elephant populations are considered to be Appendix I by the Australia authorities, thus not allowed to be imported.
  • As of March 2015, all African lion populations are considered to be Appendix I by the Australia authorities, thus not allowed to be imported.
  • Australia will no longer issue permits to import hunting trophies of the CITES Appendix II listed southern white rhino. This includes importing rhino hunting trophies as personal and household effects. Radiocarbon dating is required to conclusively prove the age of vintage rhino horn for export.
  • CITES II hunting trophies will always require an import permit in Australia. These include all the African cat species, Hartmann's mountain zebra, hippopotamus and lechwe.

Australian Government Resources


EU FlagEuropean Union Wildlife Trade Regulations

CITES is implemented in the EU through a set of regulations known as the Wildlife Trade Regulations.

  • The EC Wildlife Trade Regulations cover non-commercial movements across EU external borders and third countries' frontiers by private persons transporting a wildlife specimen covered by the EC Wildlife Trade Regulations, either as part of a household move or as part of their personal belongings. This also applies to hunting trophies as well as tourist souvenirs made from wildlife.
  • The EU lists endangered or threatened species in it's own list of Annexes A, B, C and D. For example, Annex A contains all The CITES Appendix I species, plus some CITES II and III species which they think need stricter trade measures, plus some non-CITES species.

EU Regulation Resources


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