Trophy Importation Regulations

General Requirements

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

Stricter U.S. Wildlife Laws

Other Agency Requirements

Agency Quick Links

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

U.S.Customs and Border Protection

U.S.Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service

U.S.Fish & Wildlife Service Information for Importers and Exporters

Phone: 703-358-1949; Fax: 703-358-2271; lawenforcement@fws.gov

Documentation Quick Links

Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (electronic file)

Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (print and submit)

FWS Endangered Species program permits

General Requirements

  1. Most hunting trophies imported from Africa must come through a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated port. Under limited circumstances, you may be authorized under permit to use a port that does not normally handle wildlife trade. You must show that using one of our designated ports would result in substantial deterioration or loss of the wildlife, or would cause undue economic hardship. If you are importing your trophy through a non-designated port, you must have a copy of your valid port exception permit. You can find general information on importing, including our ports at: http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/Info_Importers_Exporters.htm.

  2. You must file a Declaration for Importation or Exportation of Fish or Wildlife (Form 3-177) with our wildlife inspectors at an authorized FWS port of entry and receive clearance before U.S. Customs and Border Protection releases your shipment. You may file your declaration electronically (https://edecs.fws.gov/) or in hard copy form (available at http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/faqs.htm).

  3. We do not charge a fee for inspecting your trophy if you clear it through a designated port during normal business hours. You will pay fees if you use a port exception permit. The Service also charges a fee when you apply for CITES or other wildlife import permit.

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)

If your trophy animal is protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), you will need an original valid CITES export document from the country of export or re-export. If the animal is listed on CITES Appendix I (for example, leopard), you also need an original import permit from the United States. You must obtain this permit from the Service before you import your trophy.

Trophies must be imported into the United States before all of your documents expire, and your CITES documents must be validated upon export by the foreign countryˊs inspecting officials. Your CITES documents must contain the information required by our regulations. See our guidance at: http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/Info_Importers_Exporters.htm.

If you import worked, manufactured or handicraft items made from your trophy for use as clothing, curios, ornamentation, jewelry, or other utilitarian items, you must have CITES documents that indicate a purpose other than hunting (H) for the items (i.e., personal, commercial). If you plan to import curios or other items either separately or in your trophy shipment that you purchased while overseas, be aware that there might be restrictions on what you can import.

You must follow all permit conditions and make sure your trophies are tagged or marked as required. For example, crocodile or leopard skins must have a CITES tag inserted through the skin and locked in place. A mounted trophy must be accompanied by the tag from the skin used to make the mount. CITES documents must contain all information that appears on the tag.


Stricter U.S. Wildlife Laws

You should be aware that there are several U.S.wildlife laws that may restrict the import of your trophy. If the animal is protected by the Endangered Species Act (for example, leopard, brown hyena or bontebok), you will need to obtain an endangered species import permit(http://www.fws.gov/endangered/permits/index.html) before importing your trophy. You can find the list of endangered species at: http://www.fws.gov/endangered/.

Some bird trophies (for example, hoopoe) may need permits under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. You can find the list of migratory birds at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/migratorybirds/mbta.htm.

Many countries require export permits for wildlife, even for species not protected under CITES. Be sure to check with the exporting country for any additional requirements. Importing trophies without permits required by a foreign country is a violation of U.S. law.

Other Agency Requirements

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