Provisions on the protection of species

Today, many animal and plant species throughout the world are endangered in their existence or even threatened by extinction. Both, at international and national level, regulations have been adopted for the protection of these species, which have an impact on international trade to a varying degree.

If you wish to import goods that are listed in the Washington Agreement on the Protection of Species, or the EU Regulations on the Protection of Species, you must show to the customs officer the documents regarding the protection of the species required in every case, which will depend on the level of protection afforded to the animals or plants.

To protect wild animal and plant species, species conservation restrictions also apply to private travel.

At the present time, each individual is only permitted to carry a limited number of the following goods without species conservation documentation:

  • Caviar up to an amount of 125 grams from sturgeon species, in individually marked containers, and/or
  • Up to three rainsticks (musical instruments made from cactus wood), and/or
  • Up to four worked specimens from dead crocodiles (excluding meat and hunting trophies), and/or
  • Up to three shells of queen conches, and/or
  • Up to four dead specimens of seahorses, and/or
  • Up to three shells of giant clams, not exceeding three kilograms in total, where a specimen may be one intact shell or two matching halves.

Please note: The exceptions listed above shall only apply to specimens if they meet one of the following conditions:

  • They are contained in the personal luggage of travellers coming from a third country or travelling to a third country, or
  • They are contained in the personal property of a natural person transferring his/her normal place of residence from a third country to the European Union or from the European Union to a third country.

In all other cases (e.g. including when sending internet orders by post), these exemptions do not apply! Species conservation documentation is always required in such cases.


When buying ivory carvings, items made of tropical woods or tortoise shell, as well as orchids or cactuses, inter alia, you should therefore bear in mind that you will need the necessary documents regarding the protection of species for exporting them from the country of your holiday destination, as well as for importing them into Austria. You should contact the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, the Environment and Water Management (phone: +43 (0)1 51522;) or your customs office (at best before departing on your holiday) in order to obtain all necessary information.

For more information please also consult the website