Protected species

All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals (except the dingo) are protected in NSW by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016  (BC Act). Hundreds of these species are listed as threatened. OEH is responsible for protecting these species.

Some fish species are also protected under NSW legislation. Check the Fisheries website for details of protected fish species and threatened fish species.

Land-based invertebrate species are not protected by law in NSW, unless they are listed as threatened. Aquatic invertebrates are the responsibility of the Department of Primary Industries - visit the Fisheries website to find out which species are protected.

Exceptions or limits to the protection of native animals

Some native birds in certain areas

Some native birds are not protected in certain parts of NSW because they are either agricultural or pastoral pests:

  • sulphur-crested cockatoos and galahs have been declared 'locally unprotected' in the Western, North West, Central West, Riverina and Murray Local Land Services regions (excluding national parks and conservation areas), because of the damage they do to grain and oilseed crops
  • crows and ravens (corvids) are protected only in Greater Sydney Local Land Services region (and national parks and conservation areas), because they are blamed for the deaths of lambs in other areas
  • the purple swamphen is not protected in 10 irrigation districts and areas in the Riverina  and Murray Local Land Services regions (excluding national parks and conservation areas), where the species causes considerable damage to irrigated crops such as rice.

Find information about Local Land Services regions.


The dingo is regarded as a wild dog under the Local Land Services Act 2013. Wild dogs are declared 'noxious animals' under that legislation, so they cannot be protected under the BC Act.

Protection of species in parks and reserves

All native animals living in NSW national parks and reserves are legally protected under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

Animal licences

Although most species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are protected throughout the state, OEH can license people to control, hold and trade in protected species. For example, people can be licensed to:

More information about animal and plant licences

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Page last updated: 28 August 2017