Frequently asked questions
How will I know if my licence application has been successful?
Applicants for all classes of licence will be notified by mail whether they have been successful in obtaining a licence. The time needed to process an application depends on the type of licence being sought, but generally it takes at least 21 days for both a Companion Native Animal Keepers' Licence and Native Animal Keepers' Licence. Once your application is approved, your licence will be posted to you.
If you applied for a Native Animal Keepers' Licence you will also receive an Animal Keepers' Record Book to record information about your animals in. Read your licence conditions carefully so you know what you must do as a licensed and responsible keeper of native animals.
What is the Native Animal Keepers' Record Book?
The Animal Keepers' Record Book is like a diary for your native animal collection. You use it to:
list the number of individuals you have of each species at any given time
list the numbers of animals acquired or disposed of
provide details of all acquisitions and disposals.
The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) audits these record books annually to monitor licensees' activities and species held, and to assist in meeting conservation objectives.
The important things about the Animal Keepers' Record Book are:
- although all your animals can be recorded in one book, you must use a separate page for each species
- the reporting period for each book runs each year from 1 April to 31 March. On March 31 each year, you need to finalise any details, tear out and keep the blue pages, and send the remainder of the book to OEH, ensuring we receive it before April 30. We will send you a new book after we receive your old one.
You need to keep your book up-to-date by recording changes to your animal collection as soon as they occur. Failing to keep accurate records is an offence under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.
- Keep your book in a safe place. An administration fee is charged for replacements.
- Instructions to help you complete the book are printed on the inside of the front cover.
OEH has developed an easy to use electronic native fauna record book which will replace the old paper based system. All persons with an email account with OEH are encouraged to use this new system.
What should I do after I receive my licence?
Once you've received your licence, you should:
read the licence thoroughly, checking that all your details are correct
pay particular attention to the General conditions
(animalkeeperssampleconditions.pdf, 13k) printed on the licence, which set out what you have been authorised to do and provide important information, such as when to return your Animal Keepers' Record Book
Make sure you have received an Animal Keepers' Record Book (not required for an Companion Native Animal Keepers' Licence). Completing the record book is a requirement of your licence and will provide a record of your animal collection.
Want to add another class of animal to your licence?
Your licence permits you to keep a certain class of native animal such as a bird, frog, reptile or mammal. If you are thinking about expanding your collection and adding another class of animal you will need to let us know by completing this form (codform.pdf, 68KB) and emailing, faxing or posting it to the Wildlife Licensing and Management Unit so we can amend your existing licence. Please note changes to licence classes cannot currently be done online.
Changing your contact details? Let us know.
If you are about to change your contact details, let us know whether you are changing your email address, your residential or postal address, or your mobile phone number. Please complete this form (codform.pdf, 68KB) and send it to the Wildlife Licensing and Management Unit.
How long will my licence be valid?
Your licence period will depend on the option you ticked in your application. To find out when your application for renewal is due, look at the expiry date printed on your licence. To qualify for renewal, you will need to comply with all the conditions of your licence.
Where can I obtain an animal?
In NSW, pet shops are prohibited from trading in reptiles, native mammals and amphibians. This means these animals can only be acquired from a privately licensed keeper. To find the keepers in your area, contact a herpetological society or avicultural society.
Most birds that can be held under a Basic Bird class of licence are available through appropriately licensed pet shops, but native bird-keeping interest groups are an alternative source for birds that can be held under an advanced Native Animal Keepers' Licence.
Where can I find out about animal keeping?
OEH recommends that native animal enthusiasts join the animal keeper group closest to them that is relevant to their species of interest. Benefits will include sharing of knowledge, experience and expertise with other keepers of similar native animals, trading of animals and, perhaps, participating in field observation and research activities. Contact a herpetological society or avicultural society.
Can I rescue or hold sick or injured animals under my Native Animal Keepers' or Companion Keepers' Licence?
No. Neither type of licence authorises the relocation or care of sick or injured animals that have been rescued from the wild. These services are provided by licensed wildlife carer groups whose members specialise in caring for sick and injured wildlife. Wildlife that comes into care is returned to the wild.
Can I buy or sell an animal interstate?
Yes. Licences to engage in trading native animals across state borders are available from OEH. A new interstate import or export licence is needed for each consignment of animals and allows the licensee one month to complete the transaction.
Once you have received your animals, or dispatched them, you will need to send a return sheet to OEH, confirming the trade has taken place. Return sheets and application forms for import or export licences are available for download and a fee is payable per licence. You can also renew your licence online and receive a 10% discount.
What should I do if my reptile enclosure is smaller than the minimum size specified in the Code of Practice for the Private Keeping of Reptiles?
The standards on enclosure sizes in the Code will be phased in over 12 months. This means that you have until the end of 2013 to ensure your reptiles are housed appropriately. After this time the minimum enclosure sizes will be mandatory.
The reason for having minimum enclosure sizes is so that captive reptiles are provided with enough space to move around, perform natural behaviours and avoid cage-mates if housed in groups. Enclosures that are too small can lead to a variety of physical and behavioural problems in reptiles. Small enclosures also make it more difficult for keepers to provide their animals with an appropriate environment (e.g. a thermal gradient).
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Page last updated: 24 January 2013