Catch and release possums

The Department of Planning and Environment may grant a licence to persons or businesses to catch and release possums to mitigate damage to property.

A biodiversity conservation licence may be granted under Part 2 of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 that permits handlers to legally catch and release possums from commercial and residential homes and backyards in accordance with the Department of Planning and Environment possum management policy. Possum handlers operate under strict licence conditions to ensure human safety and protect animal welfare.

Possum management policy

Possums can cause damage to commercial or residential property, particularly roof cavities of buildings. The best way to avoid having this is to maintain your roof in good condition so a possum cannot enter it.

Possums are protected in New South Wales. Capturing a protected animal is considered harm under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, so to avoid injuring the animal, the catch and release possum licence granted will stipulate the following conditions:

  • The animal must be captured live and released back onto the property on which it was captured. Possums are territorial animals and research has shown that dumping possums in locations (including local parks) too far from the original point of capture will greatly reduce survival.
  • Possums are released after sunset against a structure they can immediately climb. Possums mostly live in trees, safely away from dogs.

Licence holders, including catch and release possum handlers, are strongly encouraged to permanently seal potential entrances to roof cavities to avoid ongoing problems with possums.

Removing a possum from the premises

The capture or otherwise harming of a possum other than by an authorised officer or a licensed person is illegal. An owner or manager of premises can either:

Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

Engage a licensed commercial operator

Commercial operators holding a current catch and release possum licence to remove the possum from inside the premises do not require the landholder to apply for a landholder licence to harm native animals.

Catch and release possum handlers can apply for a non-site-specific annual licence from the Wildlife Team.

A commercial catch and release possum business owner can apply for a licence and authorise employees to operate under the terms of that licence. An annual report must be submitted with a licence renewal application and the fee paid before the application is processed.

Brushtail Possum Trichosurus vulpecula

Apply for a Landholder's licence to harm native animals

Landholders can apply for a landholders licence to harm and nominate who will be catching and releasing the possum. Apply through the local National Parks and Wildlife Area office.

Licences to property owners are granted on a case by case basis.