How to import a butterfly to Canada?
June 28, 2010 2:25 PM   Subscribe

Butterfly effects: Do I need a permit to bring a dead butterfly (Morpho cypris) back into Canada?

I'm hoping that someone has first-hand experience with this (ie, I'm not looking for general speculation). I've searched though all of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency pages that seem related, and I see that Morpho is on this list, but I can't sort out which regulations apply.

posted by findango to Pets & Animals (3 answers total)
I believe that the list is for importation of live specimens to approved lab facilities. FWIW, my experience going to Central America and collecting insects, just put it in a sandwich container, wrapped in tissue, and put it in your carry on. That's what I would do.
posted by bolognius maximus at 2:45 PM on June 28, 2010

The "approved facilities" are probably places that import live butterflies for whatever reason (yes, labs, but also butterfly houses). My workplace imports live butterfly pupa, but we are in the US. You're probably looking for another set of laws regarding imports.

Note: I know nothing about Canadian customs laws. You probably could get away with hiding it in your luggage -- but there are valid reasons that governments don't like it when people sneak living or dead butterflies into their countries. I have known people who were obviously not smugglers, who still had their foreign butterflies confiscated while going through US customs. It may be different for Canada, though.

Another note: Morpho butterflies are extremely popular butterflies to pin and sell. There's at least one for sale at a store within walking distance from my house, and my workplace (a museum) sells them in the gift shop. So, if you don't want to risk the butterfly being confiscated by Canadian customs, you have a pretty good chance of picking one up through other channels. Pricey, though.
posted by Coatlicue at 2:58 PM on June 28, 2010

The simplest thing is to contact them and ask. Personally, I'd phone. It looks to me that you'll need at least a permit to import, but you'll need to call them to be certain. Your butterfly isn't on this list of excluded organisms.

As well as plant and animal safety, you also have to meet the CITES protected species regulations as well. You may have to prove that this isn't an endagered or protected species also.
posted by bonehead at 3:06 PM on June 28, 2010

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