Exotic Leather Blog

International Trade of Exotic Skins: Differences Across Species

Posted by PanAm Leathers on Nov 25, 2019 3:54:35 PM

File Nov 04, 4 16 36 PM
Different species have different levels of protection under CITES, depending on their population levels. That means the import/export requirements vary a bit across species. In this blog, we will try to summarize what is required for each of the species that we supply at PanAm Leathers. 

Three Categories

CITES species are broken into three categories:

  • Appendix I contains species threatened with extinction under which trade is only acceptable under extraordinary circumstances.
  • Appendix II species are not as in danger but must be trade-controlled to prevent exploitation. This category includes about 1,400 animal species and 25,000 plant species.
  • Appendix III fauna and flora are protected in at least one country, and so CITES countries participate in controlling its trade. There are about 270 animal species and 30 plant species listed under Appendix III.

Exporting products containing specimens from Appendix I and II requires an export permit. For Appendix III species, an export permit is needed if the species is originating from the country that listed it as Appendix III.

CITES also issues re-export licenses for certain species under Appendix II and III. A re-export permit is needed if exporting specimens that were previously imported, whether as skins or finished goods. An example of this would be if skins are exported from USA to Italy, goods are manufactured from the skins in Italy and then those finished goods are re-exported to USA to be sold in stores.

USA Export Requirements

Depending on the appendix classification of the specie(s) you want to export, the US Fish & Wildlife export has different requirements:

  1. Appendix I and II species require a USFW export permit plus USFW export clearance;
  2. Appendix III and some non-appendix species require only a USFW export clearance;
  3. Some non-appendix species don't require any USFW permitting. 

We can't speak to all species, but regarding the ones that we sell at PanAm Leathers, below is a summary of what each requires. Bear in mind that parts of the skin fall under the same regulations as a full skin. For example, caiman tails require the same documentation as full caiman skins or ostrich legs require the same permitting as full ostrich skins. Also, for the items that are categorized as "CITES", they also require 3-177 export clearance. There are no items that require CITES export permits that don't also require export clearance. 


Alligator Skin CITES
Anaconda Skin CITES
Arapaima Skin CITES
Beaver Tail 3-177
Bison Skin none
Blesbok Hide 3-177
Caiman Skin CITES
Calf Skin None
Carpincho Skin 3-177
Crocodile Skin CITES
Deer Skin 3-177
Eel Skin 3-177
Hair Sheep None
Haircalf None
Hartbeest Hide None
Horse Hair Fabric None
Karung Snake Skin None
Lamb Skin None
Leather None
Lizard Skin CITES
Oryx Leather 3-177
Ostrich Skin 3-177
Peccary Leather CITES
Pig Suede None
Python Skin CITES
Salmon Skin None
Sea Snake Skin None
Shark Skin 3-177
Shearling None
Shell Cordovan None
Springbok Hide 3-177
Stingray Skin 3-177
Whip Snake Skin None
Zebra Skin CITES


Please bear in mind that this chart speaks specifically to the skins traded at PanAm Leathers. Skins of the same species from different suppliers may have different requirements. Also, as always, bear in mind that these requirements may change over time. This information is accurate as of November 2019. Feel free to email us should you have any questions. 

In the coming blog, we will discuss government agencies, research organizations and private sector companies that can prove to be good resources when navigating the international trade of exotic skins.  

Topics: CITES, Ethics, Sustainability