Possess, transport, sell or exchange a protected species

It is against the law to possess, transport, sell or exchange live or dead specimens of a European or a UK protected species.

We can grant a licence if you are planning to possess, transport, sell or exchange a protected species.

It is not illegal for you to temporarily possess a disabled protected species to tend it and later release it. This only applies as long as the injury was not caused by your own unlawful act.

European Legislation

The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 makes it illegal:

  • to be in possession of
  • to control
  • to transport
  • to sell or exchange
  • to offer for sale or exchange

Any live or dead European protect species which has been taken from the wild.

UK Legislation

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) makes it illegal to possess:

There are similar offences relating to the sale, offering or exposing for sale for Schedule 5 animals and Schedule 8 plants.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 makes it illegal to possess a dead badger. It is also an offence to be in possession of, or to control a live badger.

Possession licences

We can grant possession licences under:

We grant these licences for specific purposes only.

We can grant licences for possession of live or dead specimens for scientific, research or educational purposes. We will only issue a licence if you can show the scientific or educational reason for possessing a specimen.

Apply for a licence to possess, transport, sell or exchange a protect species

If you need a licence to possess, transport, sell or exchange a protect species, you will need to complete one of these application forms.

Possess a protected species application form

Sale or exchange of a protected species application form

There are two general licences covering possession. One is only for full members of the Guild of Taxidermists, taxidermy general licence for possession.

The other is for museums and educational establishments.

The Deer Act 1991 restricts methods of killing and taking deer. Sale of venison is licensed under the Game Act 1831 and the Game Licences Act 1860. We do not issue licences for killing or taking deer.

International trade is regulated by the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species of wild Fauna and Flora. You can find a list of species covered under the international trade legislation on the species+ website.

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