Licences to commercially trade in native animals

You need a licence to buy, sell or trade live native animals on a commercial basis.

Native animals are protected in New South Wales by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

Under the BC Act, it is an offence to buy, sell or trade (deal in) live native animals commercially without a licence.

When you need a licence

You need an animal dealer licence, a class of biodiversity conservation licence granted under the BC Act, to buy, sell or trade live native animals for commercial purposes.

Under the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) policy on the commercial trade of protected native animals, only pet shops are eligible for a dealer licence, and they may only deal in particular native bird species and a limited number of native reptile species. The commercial trade of native amphibians and mammals is not permitted in New South Wales.

Find out more about how to apply for a dealer licence and what species you can deal in:

If you intend to import live native animals into New South Wales or export them out of the State as part of carrying out the business of a dealer, you will need to apply for an import/export licence each time you intend to transport a consignment interstate.

When you don't need a licence

You don't need a dealer licence if you intend to buy, sell or trade on a commercial basis the native species exempt from licensing under the Biodiversity Conservation Regulation 2017. Currently, 41 species of native birds are exempt from the requirement to hold a licence for dealing or animal keeping.

You also don't need a dealer licence if you hold an animal keeper licence and only buy, sell or trade native animals with other licensed animal keepers as a hobby and not as a business. The dealing of native animals as a commercial business is not permitted under an animal keeper licence.

Protecting native animals

The OEH commercial trade of protected native animals policy helps regulate the commercial trade of live native animals so that the conservation risks are minimised and the welfare requirements of captive animals are met. The policy informs licensed dealers of the regulatory requirements required when dealing in native reptiles or birds as a commercial business.

Licensed dealers must also comply with the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Animal Welfare Code of Practice – Animals in Pet Shops issued under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and subject to inspections by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).