License Description

A Wildlife Captivity License authorizes an individual to possess wild animals or wild birds for scientific, educational, exhibition, or other purposes.However, in North Carolina, you cannot hold a wild animal or wild bird as a pet or for amusement or companionship purposes.

 

 Last Revised on 11/17/15


License Restrictions, Rules, and Conditions

Captivity License for Holding are issued to a single individual, at least 18 years of age or older, to authorize the possession of lawfully taken or acquired native wild animals or wild birds for educational, exhibition, or scientific purposes. 


A Captivity License for Holding will not be issued for endangered, threatened, or special concern species as defined in 15A NCAC 10I .0102- 0105. Possession of these species requires an endangered species permit from the Commission.


A Captivity License for Holding will not be issued for holding wild animals or wild birds: 
•    As a pet;
•    For breeding purposes unless approved by the Commission;
•    For dog training;
•    For hunting; or
•    If the wild animal or wild bird is acquired unlawfully.

Individuals seeking to obtain a Captivity License for Holding for migratory birds must possess and provide proof of a valid., concurrent, and applicable federal permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, if required.


Individuals seeking to hold wild animals for education, exhibition, or scientific purposes that requires a permit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture must obtain a USDA permit prior to applying for a Captivity License for Holding.


No Captivity License for Holding will be issued and no wild animals or wild birds can be possessed until the applicant has constructed or acquired an enclosure for keeping a wild animal or wild bird in captivity that complies with standards as defined in 15A NCAC 10H .1404 and the facility has been verified by a representative of the Commission or the individual has shown proof of a valid, concurrent, and applicable U.S. Department of Agriculture license or exemption from USDA licensing requirements. Any changes to an animal’s enclosure after verification shall be reported to the Commission in writing within 10 days.


Wild animals and wild birds held under a Captivity License for Holding:


•    Cannot comingle with pets, non-native animals, livestock, or wild animals or wild birds held under a captivity license for rehabilitation. 

•   Wild animals cannot not roam free unrestrained outside of their enclosure. 

•   Wild animals outside of their enclosures must be kept restrained at all times so the license holder or their designee is in control of the animal and it presents no danger to the public.

•   Rabies species outside of their enclosures must be kept restrained at all times so the license holder or their designee is in control of the animal and it does not have physical contact with the public, domestic animals, non-native animals, livestock, or other wild animals or wild birds. 


License holders with wild animals or wild birds used for education or exhibition outside of their facility, must maintain records of education and exhibition activities on this form and must retain records on these forms for a period of 12 months following the expiration of the license. 


It is unlawful for a license holder to sell, transfer, or release the wild animal or wild bird held under their license, except a wild animal or wild bird may be surrendered to an agent of the Commission, or transferred to another individual who has obtained a license to hold the wild animal or wild bird in captivity. 


Finding an orphaned wild animal or wild bird in the wild is NOT a legal means to acquiring an animal. A Captivity License for Holding will not be issued in such cases. If you have found an orphaned animal or bird, please contact a wildlife rehabilitator near you. (Wildlife Rehabilitators List).

Captivity Licenses for Holding are annual licenses and will expire on December 31st of each year.

Download the current Wildlife Captivity License Rules:

 

How to Obtain License

Fill out a completed Wildlife Captivity License Application and submit to the Commission address listed at the bottom of the application form. This license has a $50.00 application/renewal fee plus a $2.00 transaction fee which may be paid by:   

  • To pay by credit card over the phone, call 1-888-248-6834 during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm).
  • To pay by check or money order, make payable to NC Wildlife Resources Commission.
 
All license fees are non-refundable.

Download the License Forms

License Contact Information

 

Address:   North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission 
Customer Service Section
1707 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1700
   
 Phone: 1-888-248-6834 or  919 707- 0391
 Fax: 919-707-0292