Exotic Pet Laws
If you keep an exotic pet, you may need a license, particularly if it is listed under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
CITES is an agreement between more than one hundred countries to regulate the trade of threatened and endangered animals to protect them from extinction. Hong Kong is a signatory of CITES. You can find a list of animals protected under the agreement here.
CITES species are listed in the Protection of Endangered Animals and Plants Ordinance (Cap. 586) and their illegal possession can result in a maximum fine of HK$5 million and a prison term of up to two years.
For a CITES I and CITES II animal that was non-captive bred or caught in the wild, you will need to apply for a possession license from the AFCD. Please check this before you buy the animal so you know how to get a license and what documents you will need.
If you have a captive-bred animal, no possession license is required if you can provide documentary proof that the animal has been captive bred. It is important that you obtain the original document or a copy and a receipt from the pet shop listing the species, number and date of purchase.
Please note that a species status under CITES can change from year to year and you might be required to acquire a possession license from the AFCD if your pet becomes listed under CITES I and II.
Remember: If you buy exotic animals you may be contributing to the illegal wildlife trade which causes the deaths of millions of animals every year and threatens wild populations worldwide. Consider your decision carefully and do thorough research to establish the true source of your pet.
Native wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance (Cap. 170). If you find a wild animal in need of help, please call our 24 hour Inspector hotline at 2711 1000.