What Documentation do I Need for my Tortoises to Travel?

France allows private individuals to import a maximum of 5 pet reptiles, per family – provided that they are not put up for sale or sold, under any circumstances and that they are accompanied by a health certificate which has the signature of an authorised veterinarian from the country of export. The reptiles will be examined on arrival and must be shown to be free of any evidence of disease, especially of lesions in the skin.

The health certificate should be issued by a “local veterinary inspector” or a private veterinary surgeon who is authorised to issue certificates for the importation and exportation of pets. This Certificate of Good Health should be in both languages and should testify that your pet reptile shows now signs of a contagious disease of the species. It should also be issued between 1 and 5 days before your pet arrives in France. (To find an authorised veterinary surgeon, contact DEFRA)

In addition, the owner of the reptile must declare that “He/She is the owner of the animal that he/she is accompanying and he/she will not sell it on” – and the reptile must travel with an approved pet travel company, although in some instances, you may be allowed to travel with your pet.

These are the general rules which apply to any pet reptile being imported into France. If the reptile is of a species which belongs to the Endangered list, then additional requirements will apply. France is party to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. This means that it is unlawful to import species listed by the Convention – including wild birds, reptiles, crustaceans, fish as well as any part or product (such as skins, feathers, eggs) and products and articles manufactured from wildlife and fish – unless authorised by permit.

Therefore, as these tortoises are members of a species covered by the Convention on Endangered Species – in order to take these tortoises into France, the owner will need to acquire a CITES permit, which will proved authorisation for the import.

For more information, contact CITES (http://www.cites.org/) or

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)

1A Page Street

London, England SW1 4PQ

Tel: +44 (0) 207 904 6222

Fax: +44 (0) 207 904 6834

Website: www.defra.gov.uk

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