Importing wildlife to Alberta

Federal and provincial guidelines for the importation of wildlife or wildlife parts into the province.

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Information for Importers of Wildlife or Wildlife Parts

Importing Live Wild Animals

  • If you wish to import "controlled animals" (a category under Alberta's Wildlife Act which includes animals such as polar bears, monkeys and serval cats), you must first obtain an import permit. Many native wildlife species also require a permit to import or keep in captivity.
  • People other than residents may apply for an import permit to authorize the importation and temporary possession in Alberta of controlled animals or wildlife for commercial displays – see the section below on "Importing wild animals as part of a touring show".
  • Residents first require a permit to keep these animals in captivity, such as a research permit or zoo permit. Research or zoo permits are available only to those conducting scientific research and to established, accredited zoos. Contact a Fish and Wildlife Division district office for further information on these permits.
  • If you have acquired a zoo or research permit to keep the animal, an import permit may be applied for at a Fish and Wildlife Division district office.
  • A health certificate for the animal, issued by a licensed veterinarian, must accompany the shipment with the animal.
  • A copy of this health certificate must be sent to the issuer of the import permit within five days of the shipment.
  • If you are importing a live animal from outside Canada, keep in mind there are a number of federal regulations governing the import of wildlife. Contact the Canadian Border Services Agency, Agriculture and Agri-foods Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service to find out which regulations apply to your situation.
  • If you wish to import a live "non-licence" animal (see list) an import permit is required but no additional possession permit is needed. Keep in mind that bats, skunks and raccoons cannot be possessed live in Alberta.

Importing Wildlife Parts, such as Antlers, Skins or Hooves

  • To import wildlife parts, no Alberta import permit is required. However, documentation should accompany the wildlife parts to show they were legally possessed and exported from the originating jurisdiction.
  • Most jurisdictions outside of Alberta require permits to export wildlife or wildlife parts. Importing wildlife without an export permit required from the originating jurisdiction is unlawful.

Importing Wild Animals as Part of a Touring Show

  • To do so, you will require an import permit that allows you to import, display, and then export the animals. Contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife Division district office.
  • A health certificate for the animals must be provided to the issuer of the import permit within five days of importing them.
  • Permittees must maintain adequate Comprehensive or Commercial General Liability insurance against claims for bodily injury or property damage arising out of the activities with the provinces.
  • The permittee shall supply to the department as part of the application for an Import Permit, a public safety and animal escape recovery plan.
  • Permittees should expect that reviews of Import Permits may take up to two weeks to process and therefore should plan and schedule activities with sufficient time in order to secure the required permits before arriving in Alberta with animals.
  • If you are importing the animals directly into Alberta from outside of the country, you will also need to contact Canadian Border Services Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service to learn what federal import permits are required for your specific situation.

Bringing Harvested Animals Back from International Hunting Trips

  • Be sure to follow the hunting and wildlife export laws of the country where you are hunting, and check with Canadian Border Services Agency, Agriculture and Agri-Foods Canada and the Canadian Wildlife Service to learn what federal import permits may be required to bring your harvested animal into Canada.
  • Alberta has no import permit requirements for wildlife that has been legally harvested in other jurisdictions, legally exported and imported into the province with all necessary federal permits.

Importing Live Fish

  • Depending on the species and purpose of the import, a fish import licence may be required to transfer live fish into Alberta from another province or country.
  • For most common pet species and saltwater fish, the province does not require a live fish import licence as long as the fish is intended to be a pet.
  • You can apply for a fish import licence by contacting the Fisheries Management Branch of Sustainable Resource Development at least 10 days before the fish shipment will occur.

For this licence, you must be able to produce a Fish Health Certificate, signed by a veterinarian in the original jurisdiction, which states that no new fish or certifiable disease has been identified at the facility since the last inspection.

Related Information

Environment and Protected Areas

To contact a Fish and Wildlife officer for advice, see:

For information and advice about importing fish, see the Fisheries Management Area Contacts Map at:

  • Fisheries & Wildlife Management Area Contacts

For more information on Non-licence Animals in Alberta, see:

To learn more about applying for a research permit, see:

To learn more about provincial zoo standards and how to apply for a zoo permit, see:

Other Government of Alberta

For information about importing fish eggs for the purposes of raising fish, visit the Agriculture and Forestry website at:

Government of Canada

To learn more about federal regulations on animal and animal product imports and exports, visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency website at:

For more about inspections of animals crossing the Canadian border, visit the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) website at:

To contact the CBSA, refer to:

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets controls on the international trade and movement of animals or plants deemed adversely affected by excessive commercial use.

For information about federal CITES permits, call 1 800 668-6767, or visit the Environment Canada website at:

United States and International

To learn more about importing and exporting wildlife and wildlife parts between Canada and the U.S. visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website at: