Permits, licences and authorities
Queensland's native wildlife is protected by legislation that aims to conserve biodiversity by protecting wildlife and its habitat.
All native birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians are protected, along with some invertebrates (certain butterflies, spiders and scorpions), freshwater fish and the grey nurse shark. Other aquatic species are protected by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Government.
A licensing system helps us protect native wildlife species. By regulating the sustainable taking, keeping, using or moving of wildlife for commercial, recreational or other purposes we ensure viable wild populations of plants and animals are maintained.
The type of licence or permit you need depends on:
- the wildlife species
- the type of activity
- the tenure of the area (i.e. national park, state forest, private property) in which you plan to undertake your activity.
The different types of wildlife licences and permits are listed in alphabetical order below.
Collection authority (biodiscovery)
A Collection authority (biodiscovery) is required to collect and use native biological resources from state lands or Queensland waters.
Collection authority (dead protected wildlife)
A Dead animal collection authority is required to keep a collection of dead protected wildlife for reference purposes. It is not granted for live animals and does not allow for the take of wild animals.
A licence is required if you want to undertake:
- certain commercial uses of protected native animals such as commercial harvesting, commercial wildlife interaction, commercial trade of live and dead protected wildlife and farming
- commercial use of protected native animals—this usually involves the use of native wildlife as part of a business.
This includes activities such as:
- harvesting of protected animals
- harvesting of macropods
- harvesting of estuarine crocodile eggs
- commercial interaction with protected animals
- farming certain wildlife
- whale watching in a marine park
Damage mitigation permit
A damage mitigation permit is needed to cull and disperse wildlife, remove and relocate wildlife and lethally take flying foxes for crop protection.
Flying-fox roost management permit
A flying-fox roost management permit allows a person to disturb or drive away flying-foxes or to destroy a roost if the flying-foxes are causing damage to property or represent a threat to human health or wellbeing.
A Harvesting Licence is required if you want to harvest native species, such as macropods and other protected animals, for recreational or commercial purposes during the declared harvest period for the species.
The Queensland Museum can take, keep, use and display protected wildlife and keep dead protected wildlife, without specific approval. These arrangements are subject to conditions detailed in the Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020.
Native animal keeping licence
From 22 August 2020, if you have or intend to keep, breed or trade a protected animal in Queensland as a pet, or commercially breed or sell protected animals as pets you may need a Standard, Specialised or Advanced Licence. The type of licence you need will depend on the species of animals and number of animals you wish to keep, as well as the level of breeding and trade you wish to engage in.
Permit to keep protected wildlife
A permit to keep wildlife may be issued to allow a person to keep specific individual native animals but not use, breed, sell or give away the animal.
These licences are only issued for specific reasons, including:
- where a rehabilitated animal cannot be released because it us unable to survive in the wild
- where an animal has been kept lawfully in another state as a pet, and the holder wants to move it to Queensland
- where the animal has previously been kept lawfully in Queensland, but can no longer be lawfully kept under any other licence type.
Note: keeping protected wildlife as pets or for recreational purposes requires a Keeping native animal licence.
Protected animal research or educational purposes permits
Licences are available for research and educational facilities to take, keep and use native wildlife.
- On non-protected areas such as public-purpose reserves, state forests, and private land you will need either a research or educational purposes permit to take, use or keep protected animals for these purposes.
- On a protected areas such as national parks, nature refuges and special wildlife reserves you will need a permit to take, use, keep or interfere with cultural or natural resources including flora, fauna, soil and water.
Protected plants permits and licences
A permit may be required if you want to clear threatened or near threatened protected plants and their supporting habitat. Note: a separate clearing permit may be required under the Vegetation Management Act 1999.
A licence is required to take and use restricted protected plants for harvesting or growing purposes. A restricted plant is a native plant listed as special least concern, near threatened, vulnerable endangered or critically endangered under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Recreational wildlife licence
Prior to 22 August 2020, a recreational wildlife licence (RWL) was required to keep birds, reptiles or amphibians at a residential property. These licences have been replaced by Native animal keeping licences.
A rehabilitation permit is required if you want to look after and rehabilitate protected native animals.
An exhibition licence allows a person living in Queensland to exhibit and deal with authorised animals, either or both at a regular enclosure site (e.g. as a typical zoo) or away from the regular enclosure site (e.g. during mobile demonstrations).
Interstate exhibitors permit
An interstate exhibitors permit allows a person living outside of Queensland to exhibit and deal with authorised animals in Queensland as a travelling or temporary display away from the regular enclosure site.
Wildlife movement permit
A wildlife movement permit may be required if you want to move native or exotic animals within, into, or out of Queensland.
Wildlife permits for Commonwealth areas
More information about permits covering wildlife in a Commonwealth area in Queensland is available on the Australian Government's website.
The legislation relating to wildlife in Queensland includes:
- Nature Conservation Act 1992
- Nature Conservation (Animals) Regulation 2020
- Nature Conservation (Plants) Regulation 2020
- Nature Conservation (Estuarine Crocodile) Conservation Plan 2018
- Nature Conservation (Koala) Conservation Plan 2017
- Nature Conservation (Macropod) Conservation Plan 2017