Travelers must be aware of fish and wildlife restrictions when crossing borders. The introduction of foreign plants or animals can disrupt ecosystems and threaten food supplies. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and live plants are often prohibited. Different countries have different rules for transporting pets. Research customs policies before traveling.
One of the main reasons people travel is to experience new scenery. Being surrounded by completely new greenery and animals can be an inspiring experience. As a traveler, however, it’s important to remember that the ecology of every habitat and region on the planet took millennia to create. Indeed, an ecosystem can be completely disrupted by the introduction of just one seed from a foreign plant.
The same goes for animals. If just a few animals are introduced to a new region, they could invade the area and completely destroy the ecosystem. For these reasons, many governments are very specific about what types of plants and animals can be imported into or exported from their country.
Before you travel, it’s important to know any fish and wildlife restrictions you may experience while travelling. Fish and wildlife restrictions affect plants, animals and even some foods. Any food that might carry live organisms can be seized and destroyed by customs.
Fresh fruits and vegetables may not be allowed to cross borders because their seeds may be vital for germination. If you want to bring home some culinary treats, consider spices or dried grains; anything that has been bottled such as wine, sauces or preserves; or treats like chocolates and candies. These should clear customs without any problems.
In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, live plants are also prohibited by many customs policies. Due to the incredible reproductive capabilities of plants, a single seedling can pose a serious threat to an ecological system. The plant could invade other plants important to a system. Additionally, if the plant carried a virus, it could wipe out crops or areas of wildlife across the country. Not only could this create environmental problems, but it could also threaten important food supplies.
If you are considering transporting a pet on your international trip, make sure you are aware of fish and wildlife restrictions on animals. Every country has a different set of animal rules. Some animals cannot pass customs at all. Others are held by customs officials for a period of quarantine before being released to the owner. If you want to take your pet with you on vacation, be sure to research the specifics of fish and wildlife customs for each country you will be visiting.
For more information on US fish and wildlife customs, visit www.customs.ustreas.gov.