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Licences & permits > Scientific research permits

Taking protected animals from the wild for scientific purposes

The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 defines 'taking an animal' as any act of hunting, catching, restraining, killing or injuring, and any act of attempting or assisting to hunt, catch, restrain, kill or injure.

The catch and release of animals (eg applying identification bands to birds, or capturing lizards for identification) falls within this definition.

An application to take animals for scientific purposes must satisfy a range of requirements. When assessing an application, consideration is given to whether the application complies with a broad definition of scientific research:

  • the general aim of the project is to acquire new knowledge, or gain an increased understanding of existing knowledge
  • the project aims and methodology follow accepted scientific principles
  • it is based on gathering observable, verifiable and measurable evidence, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.

If the research is for commercial gain, consideration will also be given to whether the:

  • public will receive due compensation for any income derived
  • results of the research will be fully documented and made publicly available.

The criteria used to assess the permit include the:

  • scientific quality
  • significance and innovation of the research
  • impact the research may have on the local population or species of wildlife being studied, or on the reserve in which the research is being conducted

Additionally, the Animal Welfare Act 1985 requires that all animal researchers be authorised by a Licence for research or teaching.

It is also a condition of all Licences for research and teaching that research involving animals be reviewed and approved by a South Australian Animal Ethics Committee that has been appointed by the Minister.

There are separate provisions and policies in place that cover the taking of protected animals from the wild for purposes other than scientific research. For more information: