Skip to main content
Page load in progress

Endangered species

Items that are prohibited and or restricted entry into New Zealand.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is designed to regulate trade in endangered, threatened, or exploited species.

CITES covers alive or dead plants and animals, and any products made from them. This includes souvenirs.

The CITES items most commonly seized or surrendered at the New Zealand border include:

  • Corals and clams 
  • Crocodile and alligator products (jerky and leather)
  • American ginseng root and traditional medicines containing dendrobium and saussurea costus  

You need a permit from the Department of Conservation to bring the items listed above into or out of New Zealand.

A permit is also required for the items below.  Note that this is not a complete or comprehensive list – if you have any doubts about whether your item requires a permit, contact the Department of Conservation at for more information.

  • Ivory in any form, including jewellery and carvings
  • Tortoise or sea turtle shell jewellery and ornaments
  • Meat or food derived from whales, dolphins, rare crane and pheasants, or sea turtles
  • Medicines containing musk, rhinoceros, saiga antelope or tiger derivatives such as ground horn or bone
  • Carvings or other items made from shark's tooth, whale's tooth, whalebone or bone from other marine mammals
  • Animal skins and leather products (footwear, bags and wallets) including from cats, crocodiles, alligators and snakes
  • Trophies or other body parts from sea turtles, all big cats, rare reptiles, cranes, pheasants, bears, antelope, and deer
  • Live species, including pet eagles, hawks, owls and parrots, many cacti, orchids, cycads, and cyclamens

The Department of Conservation (DOC) can help you understand what is required to get goods made from wildlife in and out of the country legally.  This means getting the correct permits before import.

Find more information on CITES on the Department of Conservation's website.