A wildlife licence is required if you want to disturb or remove protected wildlife or damage protected species' resting places in Northern Ireland, and are only issued for specific purposes, which are set out in legislation.

Before you start

A wildlife licence may be required to authorise what would otherwise be an offence. A licence will only be granted where the activity satisfies the requirements of the relevant legislation.

The activities you can get a licence for vary from species to species, and include:

  • preventing damage to agriculture, livestock, foodstuffs for livestock, growing timber, fisheries, property or archaeology
  • preserving public health or public safety or other imperative reasons of overriding public interest including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment
  • carrying out maintenance and development of land
  • for science, research, education and conservation purposes
  • preventing disease among species
  • to keep or release non-native species
  • to sell, own, exhibit or transport protected species
  • photography (includes still images and filming)
  • ringing or marking, or examining any ring or mark on, wild animals
  • introducing wildlife to particular areas
  • protecting any zoological or botanical collection

You could be fined up to £5000 per offence and get up to six months in prison if you don't have a licence. Please also note it is your responsibility to return your licence reports and renew your licence, this doesn't happen automatically.

Guidance and documents

Apply for a wildlife licence

Additional information

For more information about licenses please contact one of our teams using the details available at the links below:

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