Taxidermy licences

Taxidermy is the preservation and mounting an animal for study or display, and involves the use of dead animals or animal parts.

Are you aware of upcoming changes to wildlife licensing?

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is scheduled to commence from 25 August 2017.

Existing wildlife licence classes, conditions and fees will remain in place after the Act begins.

Proposed changes to wildlife licensing under the new Act will be exhibited for public comment in the second half of 2017. These changes are expected to be taken up during 2018.

Learn more about the wildlife licensing reforms.

The process generally starts with skinning an animal, then fitting the tanned skin over an artificial body made from carved polyurethane foam or sculpted wire. Clay and wax are used to reproduce the soft tissues and glass eyes are also added. Knowledge of animal anatomy, technical skill and artistic talent are needed to achieve a lifelike result.

Professional taxidermists supply preserved animals to museums and other research and educational organisations, and to hunters and fishers. Taxidermy is also practised as a hobby and there are many companies which stock a wide range of supplies.

Licences to carry out taxidermy or hold preserved native animals

Taxidermy may be for educational, research or private purposes. A biodiversity conservation licence under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 is required to carry out taxidermy or hold preserved specimens of native animals. This includes whole animals and any animal parts such as eggs, claws or feathers. However, OEH does not grant licences to collect native animals or animal parts for use in making jewellery, handicrafts or for use in artwork. Please contact us for further advice.

A licence for private purposes will not be issued for any threatened species listed under Schedule 1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, or for any bird of prey. However, OEH may allow the collection and holding of threatened species or a bird of prey when a legitimate scientific or educational use is demonstrated. Some other exclusions may apply.

No licence is required from OEH to hold specimens or carry out taxidermy on non-native animals such as foxes, pigs or goats.

Licence application form

Download the taxidermy and preserved animal licence application form (PDF 98KB). An application fee of $30 applies. Remember: if you are applying to carry out taxidermy you need to support your application with details of your experience in this area of work and by attaching photographs of your work, if possible.

Questions and answers

Q. I found a dead animal on the side of the road, can I have it preserved?

A: It depends on the species. Most species can be kept as preserved specimens under a licence except for those threatened species listed under Schedule 1 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 or birds of prey (e.g. eagles, owls). However, you cannot remove any animal from a national park or nature reserve.

Q: Can I hold a preserved eagle?

A: OEH only allows eagles or other birds of prey (e.g. owls) to be held as preserved specimens if used for legitimate educational purposes, such as education at a local school or environmental group.

Q: Can I sell a preserved specimen?

A: No. Preserved specimens cannot be sold or traded. If you have a licence to hold a preserved species but can no longer keep it, contact us for advice on how to dispose of it.

Q: I have found a dead animal I want preserved, what do I do?

A: Take the animal to a taxidermist licensed by OEH and have it identified. If it is a species that can be held, you will need to contact us to apply for a licence to hold it. A list of licensed taxidermists appears at the end of this page.

Q: Do I need a licence to hold native animal parts?

A: Yes, a licence is required to hold native animal parts such as feathers, claws, bones or eggs. But licences are not required for processed products, such as appropriately tagged kangaroo skins.

Q: Do I need a licence to transfer a preserved specimen interstate?

A. Yes, an import/export licence is required to transfer a specimen to or from another state.

Q: Where can I find a licensed taxidermist?

Taxidermists licensed by OEH include:

  • Actual Animal Appearance Taxidermy: phone 0412 054 789; PO Box 284, Ingleburn 2565
  • Animal Fetish Australia, North Bondi: phone 9130 7088
  • Australian Taxidermy Studio, Frenchs Forest: phone 9972 7463
  • Mario's Taxidermy: phone 4283 1753; Tarrawanna 2518

Licence renewal form

Is your licence due to expire? Download the taxidermy and preserved fauna licence renewal form (PDF 96KB). A renewal fee of $30 applies.

Further information

Taxidermy licences are administered by OEH's Wildlife Team. Find out more about what the Team does or contact the Wildlife Team for further information.

Related links

The websites listed below may be useful or interesting to taxidermists or those thinking about getting involved in taxidermy.

Was this page helpful?

Thank you for your feedback.

Would you like to tell us more?

Share this

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter More...
Page last updated: 28 August 2017