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Recreational wildlife licence

In Queensland, a recreational wildlife licence (RWL) is required if you want to keep certain protected birds, reptiles or amphibians at a residential property.

This licence does not allow you to use the animals for commercial purposes.

Find out about Commercial Wildlife Permits and Regulations.

Examples of wildlife requiring a licence 

Examples of wildlife which may be kept privately in Queensland with a licence include:

  • golden-shouldered parrot Psephotus chrysopterygius
  • northern rosella Platycercus venustus
  • little lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla
  • children’s python Liasis childreni 
  • eastern blue-tongued lizard Tiliqua scincoides.

A full list of wildlife requiring a RWL can be found in Schedule 4 of the Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006.

Examples of wildlife which do not require a licence 

Other native birds may be kept privately in Queensland without a licence including:

  • king quail Coturnix chinensis
  • gouldian finch Erythrura gouldiae
  • galah Cacatua roseicapilla
  • rainbow lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus haematodus
  • peaceful dove Geopelia striata.

How to apply

Before applying

The requirements for obtaining a RWL will vary depending upon the species you wish to keep.

A RWL can be for:

  • Controlled, commercial and recreational animals—these animals are usually fairly easy to keep and you do not need a lot of experience to get a licence.
  • Restricted animals (including restricted reptiles)—applicants need to be 18 years old or older. You will need to demonstrate considerable experience in handling and husbandry of wildlife.
  • International wildlife—applicants need to be 18 years old. These animals can usually be kept without a lot of experience.

To hold a RWL, you must be at least 13 years of age. However, you can have someone that lives with you who is over the age of 13 such as a parent or older sibling apply and hold the animal in their name until you are 13 and can apply for a licence. You and your legal guardian must live at the same address where you will keep the wildlife. Both your name and your legal guardian’s name will appear on the licence, but you will still be the licence holder.

A standard RWL allows you to keep unlimited controlled, commercial and recreational animals as well as up to two restricted birds, reptiles or amphibians. If you wish to keep more restricted animals you will need to apply for a restricted RWL.

Apply for a licence

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s (EHP’s) online licensing system, Connect, was introduced in 2017 to make the way you apply for new wildlife licences and information quicker and easier. It replaces EHP’s previous online system—the Recreational Wildlife Licence (RWL) Service.

As a Connect customer you can:

  • update and manage your contact, address and business information online
  • complete applications and instantly submit online
  • make online payments via credit card
  • have access to online lodgement of annual returns.

You can learn more about Connect here, or watch the following animation.


To apply for any recreational wildlife licence, please register with Connect.

Applications will still be accepted outside this online system (Please complete the Recreational wildlife licence application form (DOC, 181KB). However, paper-based applications will not have the benefits associated with transacting online, and incomplete information will be returned to you for review and resubmission.

Important notes using Connect

If you currently hold an RWL granted under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 before Connect commenced, your existing licence information will not be available in Connect, either immediately or in the future. Only new applications processed under Connect will be available.

Your child cannot apply for an RWL using Connect, as a customer on the system must be aged 18 years or older. However, you could consider applying via Connect for the licence in your name, noting your child as an additional operator (must be aged at least 13 years). Alternatively, your child is able to use the paper-based application form noting him/her as the proposed licensee and you as the supervising parent/guardian.

Need to learn more?

Read Frequently Asked Questions about recreational wildlife licensing or watch the following animations:


A fee applies to this licence. View costs for a Recreational wildlife licence.

There may be also fees associated with doing business with Connect.

Application processing time

Your licence must be granted before you can keep wildlife. Assessment of your application can take up to 40 business days, however can be significantly reduced if:

  • you apply for a ‘standard’ RWL using Connect. Connect will guide you in providing all required information and will assess if eligible to be granted. If so, your licence will be granted immediately online by Connect.
  • all required information is provided as part of the application process. When using Connect an application will be considered invalid if required information has not been submitted. Paper-based applications with incomplete information will be returned to you for review and resubmission.

Once you have your licence

As the holder of a RWL you have a number of responsibilities.

Animal welfare

You are required to keep your animal in a way that protects the animal’s welfare and minimises its likelihood of escape. You should adhere to the following codes of practice:

Movement advice

You will need to obtain a movement advice or movement permit when you sell, buy, give away, or otherwise move your wildlife

The Information sheet—recreational wildlife licence (PDF 133KB) provides more detailed information on:

  • moving animals
  • selling animals
  • changing your details on your licence
  • renewing your licence.

It is the responsibility of the person selling or giving away the wildlife to complete a movement advice (except when the seller is in another State, in which case it is the Queensland buyer’s responsibility).

A movement advice must be completed before the movement happens.

How do I complete a movement advice?

There are two ways to complete a movement advice – online, and by use of a paper-based form.

This Wildlife Movement Advice animation provides more information about your options.

Online (via online licensing system Connect)

The use of a movement advice online is available, providing that both the person who is selling or giving away the wildlife and the person who buys or accepts the wildlife have had licences issued by the licensing system Connect (this means that both would be registered to use Connect).

Please note that Connect will not grant a movement advice for a proposed wildlife movement that is later than 2 business days from the date of your application.

In order to access Connect, you will first need to register here.

By use of a paper-based form

This is the long-established method to complete a movement advice. Each form contains instructions on its completion.

Apply to purchase movement advices here

To remove any doubt, if either person is not a registered user with Connect, this cannot be processed using the Connect system and paper-based application must be used.

Reporting on your activity

You will also be required to keep an up-to-date record on your permit activity by maintaining a wildlife record book (PDF 800KB). You must make the record book available as when requested by an officer from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

The specific requirements for maintaining a record book can be found in the Information sheet—recreational wildlife licence (PDF, 133KB). Alternatively, you can email the Connect Help Desk or phone 1300 130 372 (Option 4).

Further information

For further information, contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) on 1300 130 372 (Option 4).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated
12 June 2017
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