Taxidermy licence

Find out how to apply for a licence to preserve and mount an animal for study or display or possess protected animal specimens.

Group of taxidermy (powerful owl, grey-headed flying-fox, Australian magpie, lace monitor, short-beaked echidna) on display at Royal National Park Taxidermy involves preparing the skins of animals to create lifelike models for display. Knowledge of animal anatomy, technical skills and artistic talent are needed to do this work. Professional taxidermists supply preserved animals to museums, research and educational organisations, hunters and fishers. Taxidermy is also practised as a hobby.

The taxidermy process usually starts with skinning an animal. The skin is then tanned (treated) and fitted over an artificial body made from carved foam or sculpted wire. Clay and wax reproduce soft tissues, and glass eyes are added.


Licences involving taxidermy are changing

Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice

Anyone wanting to keep preserved specimens of protected native animals or animal parts (like eggs, claws, feathers, or bones) may be authorised to do so under the Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice.

Get your licence

To carry out taxidermy on protected native animals you need a licence.

You need a licence to:

  • process protected native animal carcasses for preservation, such as by taxidermy, bone articulation or wet preservation
  • preserve specimens by cryopreservation or dealing in specimens that have been subject to a cryopreservation process
  • keep specimens of some native animals not covered by the Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice, such as:
    • animals listed in the threatened species schedules of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016
    • native birds of prey
    • native marine mammals
    • native sea turtles

For threatened species or birds of prey (such as eagles or owls), marine mammals and sea turtles a licence will only be issued for scientific or educational uses, for example, to keep at a school or other educational facility.

Licensees must only acquire carcasses and unpreserved specimens of protected animals intended for preservation from:

  • animals found dead, that weren't harmed by a person (including captured, injured or killed)
  • persons or organisations authorised to possess animals which they did not harm
  • persons licensed or persons authorised by the Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice to possess preserved protected animals.

Removing and preserving any animal or animal part from a national park or nature reserve without authorisation is illegal.

You do not need a licence if you:

  • have registered and comply with the Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice
  • hold specimens of or carry out taxidermy on non-native animals, for example, foxes, pigs or goats
  • hold processed animal products, such as appropriately tagged kangaroo skins.

Taxidermist licence holders are now authorised to sell protected animal specimens that they have taxidermied or possess to someone with the appropriate authority to hold preserved protected animal specimens, that is, those registered under the Protected Animal Specimens Code of Practice or an appropriate licence holder.

A taxidermist licence authorises you to make a maximum of 5 transactions (buying or selling of protected animal specimens) per 12-month period. Carrying out more than 5 transactions per 12-month period is not permitted.

Taxidermists may advertise and charge for their taxidermy services.

In addition to your existing reporting requirements, you will also need to report all transactions. Refer to your licence for further information about your reporting requirements and conditions. Licence fees apply.

Visit the annual transaction limit page for more details on transaction limits.

Protected animal specimens annual transaction limit

Apply for a taxidermy licence

To apply for a licence, download the taxidermy and preserved specimen licence application form (PDF 82KB) and return it via email to:

There is a $30 application fee.

If you are applying to carry out taxidermy, please support your application with details of your earlier work, including photographs.

Please allow enough time for your application to be assessed and processed.

Renew your licence

Before renewing your licence, you must submit a return to the department that includes the following details:

  • any protected specimens you have obtained and where they were sourced
  • any transactions (buying or selling of protected specimens) you have participated in and other relevant details
  • any taxidermy services you have provided.

Complete your return, and the taxidermy and preserved specimen licence renewal form, and return both documents via email to:

There is a $30 renewal fee.

When you hold a licence for taxidermy you must comply with the relevant conditions for your licence type.