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During the past one hundred years, the United States has enacted wildlife laws and ratified international treaties to protect our heritage of wild animals and plants and their habitats. The Nation's wildlife laws and treaties embody a collective commitment to conserve wildlife and to maintain the biodiversity of animals and plants to be enjoyed by people today and by future generations. Permits can serve as tools to gather, share, and use species data to monitor and manage plants and animals.
Each law and treaty has its own unique purpose and uses permits in specific ways to protect species. The General Permit Procedures regulations at 50 CFR Part 13 apply to all permits. Other regulations contain information on the types of permits available, application procedures, and issuance criteria under a particular law or treaty. Each permit application form (Form 3-200 series) requires the applicant to sign a certiication that he or she has read and is familiar with 50 CFR Part 13 and all other applicable regulations. The table below provides links to a summary or full text of each law or treaty and its implementing regulation.
Permits Office to Contact: The following laws, treaties, and regulations use permits to help conserve protected resources. Contact the indicated office about specific permit requirements.
Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (1940) protects eagles from commercial exploitation and safeguards their continued survival in the United States. Permits are issued for scientific, educational, and Indian religious purposes, depredation, and falconry (golden eagles). Contact Migratory Birds for more information.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (1975) monitors and regulates global trade in many species of animals and plants through a system of permits to ensure that commercial demand does not threaten their survival in the wild. Permits are issued for import, export, and re-export of listed species for commercial and noncommercial purposes. Contact Management Authority for most permits or contact Law Enforcement for export of hides of bobcat, river otter, Alaska lynx, Alaska brown bear, Alaska gray wolf, and American alligator and re-export of Appendix-II or -III wildlife.
Endangered Species Act (1973) protects endangered and threatened animals and plants and their habitats. Permits are issued for scientific research and enhancement activities, incidental take, and conservation activities on private lands. Permits are also issued for zoological, horticultural, or botanical exhibition purposes for threatened species. Contact Endangered Species for native species (except for import or export of native species); contact Management Authority for foreign species and import or export of all listed species.
General Provisions regulations and General Permit Procedures regulations provide uniform rules and procedures for the submission of an application and for the issuance, denial, suspension, revocation, and general administration of permits under these laws and treaties listed on this page. Contact Management Authority for more information.
Lacey Act (1900) for injurious wildlife prohibits accidental or intentional introduction to the United States of exotic injurious or potentially injurious wildlife. Permits are issued for import, transport, and acquisition for zoological, educational, medical, or scientific purposes. Contact Management Authority for more information.
Marine Mammal Protection Act (1972) protects marine mammal populations and their ecosystems. Permits are issued for scientific research, public display, enhancing the survival or recovery of a species or stock, educational or commercial photography, and import of personal sport-hunted trophies of polar bears taken in Canada. Contact Management Authority for more information.
Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918) conserves migratory birds. Permits are issued for scientific collecting, banding and marking, falconry, raptor propagation, depredation, import, export, taxidermy, waterfowl sale and disposal, and special purposes. Contact Migratory Birds for more information.
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act: Special use permits are issued when uses of NWRs are compatible with the purpose(s) for which the refuge was established, and the mission of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Contact the National Wildlife Refuge System for more information.
Plants, regulated -- regulations at 50 CFR Part 24 establish ports for the import, export, and re-export of plants regulated by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Contact APHIS for more information.
Wild Bird Conservation Act (1992) ensures that exotic birds are not harmed by trade to the United States and encourages wild bird conservation programs in countries of origin. Permits are issued for scientific research, zoological breeding or display, cooperative breeding, and personal pet purposes. Contact Management Authority for more information.
Wildlife -- regulations at 50 CFR Part 14 provide uniform rules and procedures for the import, export and transport of wildlife. Import/export licenses and designated port exception permits. Contact Law Enforcement for more information.