The Journal of Paleontological Sciences The Journal of
Paleontological Sciences
"Paleontology in the spirit of cooperation"
Issue #19: Winter 2024  February 10, 2024 
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The Paleontograph


South African Laws pretaining to the Collection, Import, Export and Sale of Fossil Material

Synopsis; South Africa has one of the most restrictive and well defined fossil laws of any country. All fossils including and not limited to; micro fossils, plants, invertebrates and vertebrates must be collected under an approved permit and become property of the state. Application for export must be made through the SAHRA and customs, and only fossils exported for study or display in a museum or university will be granted export forms. Any South African fossil material available for sale on eBay or other internet sites, or offered for sale to dealers and collectors should be questioned and avoided.

"The legislation protecting fossils is embodied in the National Heritage Resources Act (Act No.25 of 1999) which came into effect on 1 April 2000. The Act states that no person may destroy, damage, alter, deface, disturb, excavate, remove from its original position, collect or own, trade in or sell, export or attempt to export from South Africa, any fossil without a permit from the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). A person found guilty of breaking the law is liable for a fine and several years imprisonment, or both. Customs officials are aware of the law and have confiscated fossils when attempts have been made to export them without permission in the past." 1

Natural Resource Resources Act No. 25 of 1999 PDF

A copy of the Law is also avilable on the UNESCO website.

Application for fossil collecting permits must be made to the South African Heritage Resources Agency (SAHRA). Visit their website for more information,

The Chief Executive Officer
South African Heritage Resources Agency
P O Box 4637
Cape Town 8000
Tel. (021) 462 4502, Fax (021) 462 4509

1. The Palaeontological Society of Southern Africa, visited 21 September 2014

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Last Updated: Monday June 17, 2024
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