Protection of Endangered Species

Here you can learn about Hong Kong's international commitment to endangered species, local initiatives to protect them, what the Government is doing to regulate the trade in endangered species, public awareness activities and the Endangered Species Resource Centre.

Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance

Hong Kong implemented the international Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1976 through the enactment of the Animals and Plants (Protection of Endangered Species) Ordinance, Cap. 187. The Ordinance was replaced by the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, Cap. 586, in December 2006. It provides that, no person shall import, introduce from the sea, export, re-export or possess any endangered species, whether alive, dead, its parts or derivatives, except under and in accordance with a licence issued in advance by Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD). In general, the trade in CITES Appendix I species, which are highly endangered species threatened with extinction, is prohibited, and anyone who contravenes the requirements of the Ordinance will be prosecuted. Convicted offenders are liable to a maximum fine of 10 million Hong Kong dollars and imprisonment for ten years.

The strict implementation of the Convention and the legislation has produced a number of successful seizures. In 2018, more than 700 seizures were made, which included a major case of 7 tonnes of pangolin scales shipped from Nigeria by sea container in July. Other commonly intercepted CITES species include live tortoises/turtles, seahorses and timbers.

To demonstrate the Government’s commitment in combating the illegal ivory trade and to contribute to the global efforts in protecting wild elephants, the Government submitted the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants (Amendment) Bill 2017 to the Legislative Council in June 2017. The Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants (Amendment) Ordinance 2018 (“the Amendment Ordinance”) was passed in January 2018 and commenced in May 2018. The Amendment Ordinance amended Cap 586 to take forward a three-step plan to enhance regulation on import and re-export of elephant ivory and elephant hunting trophies, and to phase out the local ivory trade. It also imposes higher penalties that apply to all endangered species in addition to elephants to provide a stronger deterrent to the smuggling and illegal trade in endangered species.

More on the ConventionMore on the OrdinanceGuidelines on applying for a licence

Reward Scheme for Informers

If you are aware of any illegal activities with endangered species, you can help AFCD. Registered informers who provide reliable information that leads to the successful seizure of endangered species or to a conviction will be rewarded with cash. All information is kept strictly confidential. You can register with the scheme by calling 2150 6978. Further information on the scheme can be obtained from the Department's website.

More on the Reward Scheme

Publicity and Education Activities

Continuous efforts are made by AFCD to educate the general public, students and traders to raise their awareness of endangered species protection and the relevant legislation. Examples of such education and publicity work include the Endangered Species Resource Centre, talks in schools, roving exhibitions at public venues, distribution of advisory leaflets as well as mounting displays at the airport and border control points, and broadcast of TV and radio announcements in the public interest.

Information on publicity materials

Endangered Species Resource Centre

You may also visit the Endangered Species Resource Centre to view exhibits and information on endangered species.  Situated in Cheung Sha Wan, the Endangered Species Resource Centre operated by AFCD is the centrepiece of the Government's education efforts. Covering approximately 1,700 square feet, over 600 specimens of 200 endangered species are on display. Audio-visual and interactive computer displays make learning more enjoyable. In view of space limitations at the Centre, group bookings should be made in advance through submission of an application form or by telephone at 2150 6974.

  • Location: 6th Floor, Cheung Sha Wan Government Offices, 303 Cheung Sha Wan Road, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Opening Hours: 
    -  Group visits: 10:00 am – 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
    -  Individual visits: Friday 2:00 pm – 5:45 pm


More on the Resource CentreGroup bookings to visit the Resource Centre
Found this page helpful?
Found this page helpful?
Your feedback is highly appreciated.(optional)
Notice: This form is NOT intended for handling enquiries or complaints. For assistance, please contact the 24-hour Helpdesk at (852) 183 5500 or email to [email protected].
Thank you. Your input will only be  used to improve GovHK.
Last review date: December 2019