All native animals in the ACT are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 (the Act). It is an offence to kill, harm, endanger, take from the wild or keep these animals.
The Conservator has declared several species of native and exotic animals to be exempt animals in the Nature Conservation (Exempt Animals) Declaration 2019 (Exempt Animal Declaration). These animals include widely kept domestic species such as dogs, cats, livestock, some commonly kept fish and birds along with five native reptile species and the tadpoles and juveniles of three native amphibians.
Even though keeping these animals does not require a licence, it is still an offence to take them from the wild.
Any animal not listed in the Exempt Animal Declaration is known as a non-exempt animal, and a Nature Conservation licence is required to import, keep, sell, export or release these species. Licensing these species is one of the ways the ACT Government protects animal welfare and prevents wild and captive bred animals from entering the illegal wildlife trade.
The following activities require a licence under the Act.
Keep non-exempt animal
Under the Act you are required by law to be the holder of a licence for ALL animals, dead or alive, (whole or parts thereof) except for those on the Exempt List.
The application process considers the suitability of the applicant, relevant regulations and policies for the keeping of non-exempt species under legislation.
- You must apply for a licence or licence amendment before obtaining an animal not listed on an existing licence.
- A new application must be submitted on every occasion to add a new species to an existing licence. There is no additional fee for this.
- A licence to keep is valid for three years.
Conservation Officers from Licensing and Compliance regularly carry out inspections of all licence type holders.
- Animals must come from a legal source and must not be taken or come from the wild.
- You are required to keep records of every non-exempt animal in your possession. This may be requested an any time from a Conservation Officer. Download the record book worksheet (62.0 KB).
- You must notify a change of address within 30 days.
- Animals can only be kept at the location stated on the licence.
- You are responsible for ensuring that any animal in your care is provided with appropriate:
- food and Water
- shelter or accommodation
- opportunity to display behaviour that is normal for the animal, and
- treatment for illness, disease or injury.
Sell non-exempt animal
A separate licence to sell is required to be approved prior to selling an animal. Selling includes barter, exchange and offering to sell.
If you advertise a non-exempt animal for sale you are required to disclose your licence number.
You must only sell a non-exempt animal to a person with the appropriate licence.
Import or export non-exempt animal
A separate licence is required on every occasion that you import a non-exempt animal into or out of the ACT.
There is no fee for importing or exporting non-exempt animals for hobby purposes.
How to apply
Fees apply under the Nature Conservation (Fees) determination 2020.
Please allow up to 28 days for your application to be processed.
- Nature Conservation fees and charges
- Changes to licences for keeping non-native animals under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 Information Paper (2019)
- Pest Plants and Animals (Pest Animals) Declaration 2016