Australia boasts a diverse range of unique animals and plants. The Australian Government is committed to protecting and conserving Australian native species by regulating international trade in wildlife and wildlife products. This aims to protect species against exploitation.
You can find out if the species you wish to export is native to Australia by checking the Atlas of Living Australia and if it is protected under Australian environmental law by checking the lists of threatened fauna and flora under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).
The export of Australian native specimens generally requires a permit. You can check if a permit is required for export by working through our Do I need a permit? page, or you can apply directly for an export permit using the online permit application form.
You can also find answers to your wildlife trade questions on our frequently asked questions page.
In Australia, the export and import of wildlife and wildlife products is regulated under its national environmental law, the EPBC Act.
This legislation aims to:
- ensure Australia complies with its obligations under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- protect wildlife that may be adversely affected by trade
- promote the conservation of biodiversity in Australia and other countries
- ensure that any commercial use of Australian native wildlife for the purposes of export is managed in an ecologically-sustainable way
- promote the humane treatment of wildlife
- ensure ethical conduct during any research associated with the use of wildlife, and
- ensure that the precautionary principle is taken into account in making decisions relating to the use of wildlife.
For the import and export of wildlife and wildlife products (including the export of Australian native specimens) the legislation sets out:
- a list of exempt native specimens (LENS) (noting that specimens not included on the LENS require permits in order to be exported)
- means for granting export permits for Australian native specimens sourced from an approved commercial source program. (noting that the commercial export of live native mammals, reptiles, birds and amphibians is prohibited)
- means for granting import permits for CITES-listed specimens for commercial purposes where the exporting country has granted a corresponding CITES export permit
- means for granting import and export permits for live and non-live specimens of Australian native and CITES–listed species for non–commercial uses such as research, education, exhibition or conservation breeding programs
- means for granting certificates for the movement of CITES–listed specimens obtained prior to CITES coming into force (pre-Convention certificates).
The list of exempt native specimens (LENS) is a list of native specimens that are exempt from export regulations. Specimens included on the list (in the exact form listed and subject to stated conditions) may be allowed to be exported without a permit.
The LENS includes only specimens that are, or are derived from, Australian native animals and plants.
The LENS does not include the following:
- live native animals or plants
- specimens that are eligible listed threatened species as defined in s303BC
- specimens listed on an Appendix to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora), unless specifically listed at genus or species level, or noted in the Notation column.
Understanding the list
- The 'Taxon' column of the list includes the scientific name of the listed taxa. The structure of the list is described in more detail below.
- The 'Common name' column of the list is included for information only-the scientific name determines if a species is included on the list.
- Inclusion of a specimen on the list may be subject to conditions, which are included in the 'Notation' column. Only specimens satisfying these conditions will be exempt from export regulations.
- For the purposes of this list the term 'personal baggage' refers to a personal effect within the personal baggage of a person who is leaving Australia, which is not intended to be used for any commercial purpose, including sale, lease, hire or exchange.
In Australia, state and territory governments have primary responsibility for the management of native wildlife. The Australian Government has constitutional power over exports and imports and only becomes involved when native wildlife products are exported overseas.
A summary of state and territory based harvest programs that participate in exports are listed below by species.
Wild harvest of kangaroos and wallabies
Australian state and territory governments have primary responsibility for managing kangaroos including animal welfare. Some states and territories have determined that kangaroos may be culled to reduce the significant impact that over-abundant kangaroo populations have on agriculture and Australia’s natural environment. Some states also allow commercial harvest of kangaroos under the principles of sustainable management.
Under national environment law, the EPBC Act, the Australian Government has responsibility for protecting native species listed as threatened under the Act. Only four species of kangaroo are approved for commercial harvest and export—the Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey Kangaroos, and the Common Wallaroo or Euro. None is listed as a threatened species under national environment law, or under state or territory legislation.
The Australian Government is directly involved only when kangaroo products are exported overseas.
Commercial harvesting of kangaroos is conducted under state management plans, which require harvesting to be sustainable and humane. You can read more about management plans on our commercial trade information page. Management plans include annual harvest quotas based on regular population monitoring. All state-managed kangaroo harvesting for international export must be approved under the EPBC Act.
New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia have management plans for the commercial harvest of kangaroos for export, approved under the EPBC Act. Smaller scale commercial harvest approved under the EPBC Act also occurs in Victoria.
Two species of wallaby are commercially harvested in Tasmania, and export of fur products sourced from wallabies that are harvested for meat in the domestic market has been approved under the EPBC Act. Neither species of wallaby is listed as threatened under national environment law, or under state legislation.
Management plans and wildlife trade operations require that harvest methods comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes (the Code). The Code was recently reviewed through a project led by AgriFutures Australia. The review was informed through a reference group of representatives from the Australian Veterinary Association, the RSPCA, industry and relevant government agencies. You can view the code below.
- National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes - AgriFutures
No adverse long-term impacts on kangaroo populations have been identified after more than 30 years of harvesting under commercial management plans. This timeframe has included several periods of severe drought.
The kangaroo population of the harvested species in commercial harvest zones is provided as an estimate in states that commercially-harvest kangaroos under management plans and compile population figures (New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia). The actual national population each year would be significantly higher as these figures do not include estimates for areas not surveyed. The estimate is based on scientific survey methodologies.
State wildlife management agencies determine annual sustainable harvest levels based on the population estimates. Population and harvest figures for commercial harvest zones are updated annually and incorporated in the kangaroo statistics file below. Population and harvest figures are also available on relevant state government websites.
Kangaroo population, quota and harvest statistics for commercial harvest areas in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia:
Macropod quotas and harvest statistics for NSW, QLD, SA and WA commercial harvest areas (PDF - 235 KB)
Macropod quotas and harvest statistics for NSW, QLD, SA and WA commercial harvest areas (XLSX - 87.6 KB)
For statistics prior to 2013 please see the Kangaroo and wallaby statistics archive.
Wild harvest and farming of crocodiles
The Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) and the Freshwater Crocodile (C. johnstoni) are the only species of crocodile native to Australia. Both species are listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
In Australia, state and territory governments have primary responsibility for managing crocodiles. The Australian Government becomes involved only when crocodile products are exported overseas.
The crocodile industry operates in the Northern Territory and Queensland, which have approved management plans. Queensland utilises animals that are sourced from eggs/hatchlings harvested in the Northern Territory under its management plan to supplement its farmed stock.
You can read more about the management plans on our commercial trade page.
Wild harvest of Common Brushtail Possums in Tasmania
The Tasmanian Government has determined that Common Brushtail Possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) may be controlled where they are causing damage to crops, or wild-harvested for commercial purposes. The commercial possum industry produces a variety of products, which can be exported only if the possums are taken under the conditions of a management plan approved under the EPBC Act.
Accordingly, the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) has developed a Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest and Export of Brushtail Possums in Tasmania 2015-2020. You can read more about management plans on our commercial trade page.
The Common Brushtail Possum is abundant in Tasmania and is not listed as threatened under the EPBC Act or Tasmanian environmental legislation. The overall population of the species is regularly monitored in Tasmania and annual harvest quotas are adjusted to reflect changes in population. Tasmania also has animal welfare legislation. You can read more about quotas for this harvest on the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
You can read more about the management plans on our commercial trade page.