You'll need a zoo licence if you'll be displaying wild animals to the public for at least seven days a year, in any place that's not a circus or pet shop.
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 get a licence you'll need to tell us how you will do this
You must make sure the zoo wouldn't affect:
- the health and safety of local residents
- local law and order
- the animals' well-being
You also won't get a licence if anyone working or managing the zoo has committed an animal welfare offence
How to apply
At least two months before you make an application for a zoo licence you must give notice of your intention to apply.
To do this, the law requires that you must:
- give notice of your intention to apply for a zoo licence to the council
- publish a notice that you're intending to apply in at least one local and one national newspaper
- display the notice at the planned zoo site
When the two months have passed you can then apply for a zoo licence.
Before you get a licence your premises will be inspected by a vet and you will need to pay their fee.
After the inspection we might attach conditions to your licence. We will discuss this with you before doing so.
If you get a licence you'll be inspected regularly to make sure you're following these conditions.
You must also keep records on animal health, numbers and species, acquisitions, births, deaths (with causes), disposals and escapes
Renewing your licence
Once granted, a zoo licence will run for four years. You will then need to apply to renew your licence no later than six months before it expires.
On renewal your licence will last for six years.
The council will also carry out annual checks of the zoo during the term of the licence and can also ask for a vet to visit at other times if we have any concerns.
Transferring or changing your licence
If you want to transfer your zoo licence to someone or change the details of your licence you will need to apply and we will have to approve it first.
Displaying your licence
You must display your licence or a copy of it at each entrance to the zoo so that it can be read by anyone visiting the premises.
If you have an issue with a licensed premises for animals there are different people you can contact depending on the problem.
If you would like to view our public register for zoo licences please contact us.