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Dangerous Wild Animals

Last updated: 7 May 2014

picture of two squirrel monkeysThe Dangerous Wild Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 2004Opens in New window came into effect on 28 December 2006 to regulate the keeping of dangerous wild animals (the species included are identified in the accompanying schedule of the legislation) by private individuals. Up until this time there has been no legal provision for regulating the keeping of these animals. The Dangerous Wild Animals (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 aims to address this gap in the law by ensuring individuals that keep these animals do so in a manner which protects public safety and safeguards the welfare of the animals.




Anyone wishing to acquire a dangerous wild animal must apply for a licence prior to taking ownership of the animal. Dangerous Wild Animal Licence application form (.PDF 82Kb)Opens in New window.

More than one dangerous wild animal can be held under the authority of a licence.
This legislation gives us powers of inspection, and powers to seize any animal being kept on premises without a licence or that is being kept in breach of the licence conditions. Keepers of dangerous wild animals will be subject to annual inspections (in the first instance this will be undertaken by a DOE appointed vet). Subsequent inspections may be carried out by a nominated DOE approved vet. Zoos, pet shops and circuses are exempt from the provisions of the Order as these premises are subject to separate licensing requirements.


Selling dangerous wild animals to unlicensed persons will be an offence.


Further information can be found in the Dangerous Wild Animals information leaflet (.PDF 192Kb)Opens in New window, or by contacting us on 028 9056 9605 or by writing to;

NIEA Biodiversity Unit,
Klondyke Building,
Cromac Avenue,
Gasworks Business Park,
Lower Ormeau Road,
Belfast BT7 2JA.

Guidance for keeping Dangerous Wild Animals