German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN)

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Species conservation

Legally imported live animals and plants (I)

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Legally imported live animals and plants (II)

Categories201020112012201320142015
PLANTS10.834.99516.226.3773.458.584970.974419.292497.998
ANIMALS147.044167.710168.505183.110166.991201.733
Mammals15922307712751694
Birds252395260156233244
Reptiles57.37862.46663.23685.20867.02785.482
Amphibians3.3633.8062.616342725507
Fish and invertebrates85.892101.021102.08696.69298.255114.806

Source: Federal Agency for Nature Conservation 2016 (VIA species conservation enforcement database), legal imports, for which CITES import permits were issued)

as of: 13.05.2016

Large numbers of live, protected animals and plants continue to be imported into Germany

Every year, large numbers of live, protected animals and plants are imported into Germany by legal means. The Federal Agency for Nature Conservation issues the necessary import permits. The legal basis for both imports and exports of protected species is provided by the Washington Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).


CITES import permits are required for all species listed in Annex I and Annex II. While species listed in Annex I are at acute risk of extinction due to their low numbers or because of excessive trade in specimens of those species, those in Annex II are also traded, but are not immediately at risk. For live animals, in addition to prevailing species conservation provisions, checks are also made regarding how the animals will be kept before an import permit is issued.

Most permits are issued for specimens of species listed in Annex II. In 2015, permits were issued for some 498,000 plants and more than 201,000 animals. The vast proportion of imported live animals involved reptiles, fish and invertebrates. Of all live reptiles imported in the past five years, more than 80 percent stemmed from captive breeding. Demand for amphibians has declined.

Import of certain orchids no longer subject to approval

Since 2011, there has been a decline in the numbers of imported plants. This is due to the withdrawal of approval requirements for certain types of orchid hybrids (mass-produced plants). The number of import permits for orchids has, however, remained high for the entire period and, except for 2013, the number of different orchid species has risen from 1,779 species in 2009 to 2,380 species in 2015.

Most frequently imported protected animal species

In 2015, the most frequently imported live specimens were: 600 Java apes in the mammal category, 19 orange-breasted fig parrots in the bird category, 33,000 Chinese striped-necked turtles in the reptile category, 400 red-eyed tree frogs in the amphibian category, 93,032 corals in the fish and invertebrates category, and 134,997 orchids in the plant category.

More information

CITES (BfN-page)

CITES Trade Database (CITES-Secretariat)

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