Apply for a permit to hold protected wildlife.

Anyone wanting to hold protected wildlife must apply to DOC for a permit. All wildlife is protected unless it is specified in Schedules 1-5 of the Wildlife Act

People apply to hold lizards or kākāriki privately in captivity, hold wildlife in captivity for advocacy (public display) or hold wildlife to breed and release for conservation purposes. See these sections below for more information:

Captive management policy

The captive management policy was developed by DOC, industry representatives and interested public in 2003. It sets out when wildlife 'absolutely protected' under the Wildlife Act may be held in captivity for advocacy.

For more information see the captive management policy (PDF, 180K).

Holding lizards or kākāriki privately in captivity

You must have a Wildlife Act authorisation to hold lizards and kākāriki. If you only want to hold certain common lizards in captivity, you can register to be covered under the General Authorisation. To apply to hold other species of lizards or kākāriki follow the same process as for interacting with wildlife.

All lizards and kākāriki must be sourced from an authorised holder. Contact the New Zealand Herpetological Society for a list of authorised holders of lizards.

You must not interbreed different species. If you are not sure of the species do not hold them together or allow them to breed. You must not release your lizards or kākāriki into the wild or sell them to anyone else.

See the Best practice guide to keeping New Zealand lizards in captivity (PDF, 2,697K) for more information on how to best care for the lizards you hold in captivity. Also learn about Cultural values and tīkanga - ngārara, karara and mokomoko.

Contact our Hamilton office if you would like more information.

Holding wildlife for public advocacy (public display)

Applications to hold wildlife for public advocacy should only involve populations taken and maintained from existing captive stocks.

Protected wildlife may be held in captivity for advocacy only where there is a clear benefit for conservation. See the information below for the specific requirements you must fulfil.

Apply to hold wildlife for public advocacy

If you would like to hold wildlife for public advocacy you will need to follow the same process as for interacting with wildlife. Your application must also include:

See below for more information on each of these documents. See interacting with wildlife for processing timelines and fees. 

Note: we recommend you contact DOC to find out who the captive coordinator for your species is, there may already be some existing documentation you can use for your application.

Programme outline

Your outline details how your programme will operate and should include:

  • programme objectives
  • rationale for the species being selected for management
  • aims that captive management of the species hopes to achieve
  • a work plan for achieving the aims of the programme
  • how the population will be managed so it is self sustaining.

For more information see the programme outline template (PDF, 32K) or (Word, 58K) 

Husbandry Manual

Your manual details how you will breed and care for the species and should include:

  • detailed husbandry and care that will ensure the welfare of the individual wildlife being held (eg, housing, feeding regime)
  • management requirements of the species
  • what information your records will capture.

The manual can cover multiple locations if a number of institutes follow its methodology, it may also cover more than one species if the requirements of these species are the same. When a co-ordinated programme is run with other institutions you may capture information in the same document. 

For more information see the husbandry manual template (PDF, 77K) or (Word, 36K).

Advocacy Plan

The advocacy plan details how your programme will advocate for the species and/or conservation and should include:

  • Goals for the advocacy plan and measurable objectives
  • Description of key messages and how they will be presented to your audience
  • Calendar of advocacy events
  • How the effectiveness of the advocacy messages will be assessed.

For more information see the advocacy plan template (PDF, 70K) or (Word, 42K)

Sourcing and breeding of wildlife

The following rules must be followed when sourcing and/or breeding wildlife for public advocacy:

  • populations should be taken and maintained from existing captive stocks
  • permanently injured animals that cannot be rehabilitated to the wild can be maintained in captivity provided they are suitable for display
  • species must demonstrate the natural characteristics of the species and be held in a positive welfare state
  • populations should be managed to avoid production of surplus animals or situations where animals are bred without appropriate holding facilities.

Holding wildlife to breed and release for conservation purposes

This is a specialised area. We highly recommend you contact our Hamilton office before you start to develop any breed and release programme. 

Contact us

For more information or assistance with your application contact our Hamilton office

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