Souvenirs – choose them well !

Who doesn’t dream of bringing back a beautiful souvenir from their vacation?

Can you bring back a coral necklace to your grandmother? And an alpaca sweater for your girlfriend? The trade in souvenirs of endangered species puts biodiversity at risk. Bring back beautiful souvenirs rather than questionable objects.

Souvenirs we recommend

  • Local craftsmanship: buy it directly from the craftsman. In addition to a gift, you will also have a whole story to share!
  • Gastronomic products (authorized): a bottle of Pisco, chocolate.
  • Photos of the places and people who have marked you.
  • A notebook written by you with your own comments and feelings – what a beautiful keepsake to remember years later. You can also include entrance tickets, postcards or other documents.

Illegal and prohibited souvenirs

Unfortunately, many animal and plant products are not harmless. Here you will find information on the most common souvenirs, but this page does not claim to be exhaustive: the international trade agreement CITES protects more than 35,000 animal and plant species threatened with extinction.

Also known as the Washington Convention or by its acronym CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora is an international trade agreement aimed at protecting endangered species. Its 180 States Parties are committed to rigorous controls on international trade in more than 35,000 animal and plant species. Its objective is the sustainable exploitation of protected animals and plants. The import and export of protected species requires each time a specific permit.

CITES classifies protected species according to three degrees of protection, also called appendices.

Appendix I – Species whose trade is subject to a general prohibition

Appendix I lists species threatened with extinction and also endangered by international trade. Their trade is essentially prohibited and only authorized under exceptional conditions, subject to a permit, for specimens of previous acquisition (specimens acquired before the inclusion of their species in the CITES Appendices, in general before 1975), specimens born in captivity and specimens destined for breeding programs in zoos or for scientific purposes.

  • Feline claws
  • feline bones
  • Whale and sea turtle meat
  • Preparation of sea turtles

Annex II – Souvenirs authorized with compulsory permit. Examples of souvenirs for which caution prevails

Appendix II lists species which are subject to large-scale international trade and whose trade must be controlled in order to avoid over-exploitation of existing populations. The trade in these animal and plant species and the products derived from them is authorized subject to a permit.

  • Vicuna and guanaco wool
  • Feline skins
  • Living animals
  • Palo santo extract
  • Preparation of butterflies, feline skins, tortoises
  • Red, black and hard corals
  • Whale bones
  • Wood and wood carvings

Annex III – Souvenirs Permitted in Peru

  • Alpaca wool
  • Seashells
  • Preparation of red fox

If in doubt, refrain from purchasing the coveted souvenir or contact WWF for import requirements. The illegal import of products from protected species is liable to criminal prosecution and fines of up to one million euros.

You would like to know more about it ?


Sign up to receive your free guide together with

precious information about your travel destination!

Zero Spam, your email is safe.