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CITES  and Endangered Species

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement to ensure that trade does not threaten wildlife species with extinction. CITES regulates international trade in CITES-listed species of live animals and plants, including their parts and derivatives, based on a system of permits which must be presented before consignments leave or enter a country.

The Convention currently has a membership of 180 countries. Parties act by restricting international trade in species listed in Appendix I and by regulating and monitoring trade in others included in Appendix II and III that might become endangered (see 'Trade in CITES Species'). Singapore became a Signatory to CITES in November 1986 and the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority is the Management Authority responsible for the implementation and enforcement of CITES in Singapore.

CITES Species

CITES classifies endangered species under 3 categories.

Appendix I
These species are highly endangered and could be extinct if their trade is not severely restricted. Trade for primarily commercial purposes is generally prohibited. However, Appendix I species which are captive-bred in CITES-registered captive breeding farms are allowed to be commercially traded with proper CITES permits. For Appendix I species, CITES permits are issued only under special circumstances (eg. Zoological Gardens, Bird Park, research institutions, museums etc).

Examples: Apes and many monkeys, all elephants, rhinoceroses, tigers and marine turtles, most bears, some parrots, lady's slipper orchid etc.

Appendix II
These species are threatened and their trade is regulated. Commercial trade is allowed with proper CITES permits.

Examples: Monkeys, some crocodiles, pythons, parrots, tortoises and some soft shell turtles, sturgeons, bird-wing butterflies, American ginseng, some orchids, ramin, agarwood, seahorses, hard corals and giant clams etc.

Appendix III
These species are considered endangered in some countries and specimens from these countries are protected under CITES. Import of such species requires a Certificate of Origin, or in the case of the species being imported from a country which has included that species in Appendix III, a CITES export permit is required.

Examples: Wild water buffalo, walruses, mongooses, some deer, pheasants, foxes, snakes, soft shell turtles.

For a list of CITES-listed animal and plant species, please refer to the Appendices. For more pictures of CITES species, please visit the CITES Gallery.

CITES and Endangered Species


National legislation that gives effect to CITES

The Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act Cap 92A [ESA] was enacted in 1989 to give legal effect to the implementation and enforcement of the Convention in Singapore. The 3 schedules to the Act list the endangered species. Under the Act, a permit is required to import, export, re-export and introduce from the sea a scheduled species. The Act also empowers AVA enforcement officers to enter and search without warrant, any premises and conveyances and to seize any illegal wildlife. AVA officers have the powers to investigate the CITES species in transit through Singapore. These powers facilitate the investigation of CITES infringement cases.

Under the Act, it is an offence to import and export any endangered species without a permit from AVA. It is also an offence to possess, sell, offer or expose for sale, or display to the public any of these species, if it has been illegally imported. Any person or company caught violating the ESA is liable to be prosecuted in Court and fined up to a maximum of S$50,000 for each animal or plant ( but not to exceed in the aggregate S$500,000 ) and/or to imprisonment for a term up to 2 years.

In addition to the ESA, AVA also administers the following legislation, which are applied to protect or regulate trade in live animals, native fauna and plants:


Trade in CITES species


All imports of CITES-listed animal and plant species for any purposes (commercial, personal, zoological etc) require CITES permits. A Singapore CITES import permit must be obtained from the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) prior to the import.


Import applications MUST be accompanied by the CITES export/re-export permit from the exporting/re-exporting country. Applicants must apply for CITES import permits online, at least one week before the arrival of consignments. Failure to do so may result in delay in clearance of shipments, shipments returned to country of export/re-export or seizure of the shipments. Penalties may also be imposed on the importer for infringing the Endangered Species (Import and Export) Act.


Each online import application has to be accompanied by a copy of the CITES export/re-export permit. Please ensure that CITES permits from the exporting countries are issued by CITES Management Authorities or competent Authorities. A list of the members countries to CITES and their contacts can be found in the CITES website under National Contacts.


Please note that CITES import permits generally take two working days to be issued if supporting documents are in order. However, more time is required if verification of the CITES export/re-export permit with the country of export/re-export is necessary. Hence, express service is not applicable to CITES import permit applications.


Upon import, the original CITES export/re-export permit from the country of export/re-export MUST be submitted to Wildlife Section immediately after clearance from the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority.


Procedures for exporting/re-exporting CITES-listed animal and plant species are similar to that for importation. Applicants need to only submit their CITES export/re-export applications online. Subsequently, the applicant is to separately apply for a CITES import permit from the country of import if required, using a copy of the Singapore CITES export/re-export permit to facilitate the application.


For guidelines on import/export of personal pet birds (including CITES species), please click here(for import) or here (for export).

For guidelines on import/export of Asian Arowanas (dragonfishes), please click here (for import) or here (for export).

For guidelines on import of animal products, please click here.

For travellers brochure on CITES, please click here.

For brochure on CITES and TCM trade (in Chinese language), please click here.

Fees and payment

The fees for CITES permits are as follows:

Fees and payment
Type of Permit
Fees per Permit
CITES import/export/re-export permit
per species subject to minimum of S$60
Certificate of Origin (for Appendix III species)
CITES re-export permit (for commercial consignments of manufactured products)
Pre-signed CITES permit (for non-commercial tourist manufactured products)

Fees may be paid by GIRO, NETS, CashCard or credit card. The CITES permit is valid for three months and valid for ONE consignment only.

Please note that all unused and/or expired CITES permits issued by AVA have to be returned to Wildlife Section for cancellation.

Other requirements

TradeNet declarations must be submitted for commercial import/export/re-export of CITES-listed species to be approved by AVA. Traders are required to submit inward and outward TradeNet declaration using the appropriate HS codes and Product Codes. For the list of product codes for declaration, please click here. Please obtain CITES permits before submission of any TradeNet declarations, in order for the declarations to be approved.

CITES-listed species that are hand-carried as personal effects are also required to be accompanied by CITES permits. No TradeNet declaration is required, but restrictions may apply.


Trade in non-CITES wildlife

All commercial import/export/re-export consignments of non-CITES listed wildlife are to be declared via TradeNet. In some cases, for export/re-export consignments, countries require certification from Singapore that the species to be exported/re-exported are non-CITES species.

Traders may wish to apply for a Non-CITES Certificate, which is issued for the commercial re-export of non-CITES wildlife. Examples include non-CITES ostrich skins and its manufactured products etc.

For export of other non-CITES wildlife such as birds' nest (swiftlets), butterfly trophies and non-CITES snake species, traders may apply for a B-statement or Certification of Species to certify the non-CITES status of the species.

The fee for a Non-CITES Certificate is S$29.40, and the Certification of Species is S$22.00. Fees may be paid by GIRO, NETS, CashCard or credit card. The permit is valid for three months and valid for ONE consignment only.


Keeping of illegal wildlife

Singapore does not allow the keeping of certain pets such as reptiles, amphibians and primates as pets for the following reasons:

  • They may introduce and spread diseases to humans and domestic animals.
  • Collection of wild animals for trading will lead to ecosystem imbalance and threaten the survival of endangered species.
  • The welfare of the animals may be compromised due to reasons such as unsuitable living conditions, poor diet and pet owner's lack of knowledge of the proper care for the animal.
  • Singapore's biodiversity would be greatly affected if such exotic pets were released in the wild, as most of them are non-native.
  • If the animal escapes, it may cause nuisance, fear and trauma to the general public.

Some examples include star tortoises, iguanas, tarantulas, scorpions, snakes, salamanders, sugar gliders, hedgehogs, slow lorises, gibbons etc. For a list of pets that are approved to be kept in Singapore, please click here.


Poaching of Wild Animals and Birds

Under the Wild Animals and Birds Act, it is an offence for any person to kill, take or keep any wild animal or bird, other than those specified in the Schedule such as mynas, pigeons and crows, without a license. Any person found doing so shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding S$1,000 and to the forfeiture of the animal.

The public can call AVA at Tel: 63257625 should they see any suspected poaching activities, with the following information:

-    Type of animals poached;
-    Location of the animal poaching activity;
-    Frequency of poaching;
-    Description of accompanying vehicles used for the activity (model, colour, licence number);
-    Other useful information (photographs, equipments used for poaching, poachers description);
-    Contact details of informant

All information provided to AVA shall be kept strictly confidential.


If you have further enquiries

Please call the AVA Contact Centre via 6805 2992 or email us.

Alternatively, please visit our Contact Info page. 

Last updated on 15 December 2014
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