Zoo licence

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1. About a zoo licence

You will need a zoo licence if you'll be displaying exhibit animals to the public that are not normally domesticated in Great Britain.

To get a licence your zoo must:

  • help educate people about biodiversity
  • be suitable for the types of animals you're keeping
  • have a high standard of animal care
  • do as much as possible to stop any animals escaping
  • stop pests and vermin getting into the zoo

You must also do at least one of the following:

  • conservation research or training
  • sharing conservation information
  • captive animal breeding
  • helping repopulate or reintroduce species into the wild

Before you can apply for a licence you must tell us of your intention to apply.

You must give us at least two months' notice of your intention to apply before you can apply for a zoo licence. You can do this online.

In the notice you must give details about:

  • where the zoo will be
  • what kind of animals you're going to keep and how many
  • how you'll house and care for the animals
  • staff numbers and what they'll be doing
  • expected visitor and vehicle numbers
  • zoo entrance and exit points
  • how you will meet conservation conditions

At the same time, you are required to:

  • publish notice that you're intending to apply in at least one local and one national newspaper. 
  • display the notice at the planned zoo site

If you have completed the notification process you can then make your application.