Protection of endangered species of animals and plants (CITES)

    Protection of endangered species of animals and plants (CITES)

    In order to protect endangered species of fauna and flora in Washington in 1973 there was signed an international agreement between governments - the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (the CITES Convention). Its purpose is to ensure that no species of wild fauna and flora becomes or remains subject to unsustainable exploitation because of international trade.

    For Poland, since its accession to the EU, the competence for regulating trade in wildlife lies with the EU. Relevant EU regulations impose restrictions on trade in CITES with the EU and non-EU countries. According to these regulations, import to the EU and export from the EU of specimens protected by the CITES regulations is permitted only under certain conditions and requires import and export permits. Control of specimens and documentation is carried out by the customs authorities during customs border control.

    Customs control involves the following:

    • checking whether the specimens of animals and plants (also tourist souvenirs) are listed in the CITES Annexes and thus whether the relevant EU regulations apply,
    • checking whether relevant permits or certificates are needed. If so, permits and certificates are checked with regard to their authenticity, conformity with the transported specimens and their validity. 

    A person importing or exporting a CITES specimen is obliged to declare this fact and present the specimen accompanied by relevant documents to the customs authorities.

    Documents enabling movement of CITES specimen are issued by competent national CITES authorities.

    • In order to import to the EU a CITES specimen, a traveler must have two documents – one from the country of export and the other one from an EU Member State to which the specimen is to be imported,
    • In order to export a CITES specimen from the EU, a traveler must have a CITES document for export from the EU, and in the case of specimens of most endangered with extinction species also a document issued by the country of destination.



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