Wildlife laws exist to:

  • allow people to enjoy wildlife and interact with wildlife sustainably
  • protect native plants and animals, which are vulnerable to overuse by the public or commercial exploitation.

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972

The Act provides for the conservation of wildlife in a natural environment and for other purposes. Most native animals in South Australia are protected under the Act. Wildlife permits are granted under the Act.

The Act is administered by the Department for Environment and Water.

National Parks and Wildlife (Wildlife) Regulations 2019

The Regulations protect wildlife species without imposing unacceptable or unreasonable costs on society.

They govern how members of the public and industry keep, trade, import, export and rescue native animals. They also ensure people collecting native plant material or farming and harvesting wildlife do so in a manner that does not adversely affect our wild populations or ecological communities.

The Regulations are administered by the Department for Environment and Water.

Wildlife permits

Permits (and the information we get from permit record keeping) help us maintain healthy native animal and plant populations. We can make sure permit holders have enough experience to safely care for animals, and that animals have been legally sourced.

The permit system for keeping and selling native animals is regularly reviewed and considers:

  • the conservation status of individual species
  • the availability of the species in captive trade
  • changes in community attitudes.

You must be at least 16 years old to hold a permit.

Apply for a permitor see a list of the permit types available under the Regulations.

Permit holder requirements

Permit holders are required to comply to restrictions and conditions. If you do not comply, your permit can be revoked. This includes that you must:

  • only keep or sell species for which you have permission
  • comply with the Animal Welfare Act 1985
  • keep animals in a cage or enclosure that is adequate in size and prevents escape.
  • adhere to requirements for properly constructed and labelled transport containers, if you transport your animals
  • record information about your animals in a record book that we will supply to you
  • return information to us, on a permit return form that we will supply to you
  • notify us of a change of address or name within 14 days.

You are not permitted to:

  • acquire animals illegally, including from outside of South Australia
  • undertake any other unlawful act with the animals
  • sell or give an animal to a person who is required to, but does not, hold a permit to receive the animal
  • sell or give birds too young to fly or unweaned mammals
  • crossbreed animals – that is, allow animals of two species to mate if offspring may result.

Each permit type has specific conditions. Please familiarise yourself with the conditions of the permit you wish to apply for.

Other legislation

DEW is responsible for granting permits involving interactions with native plants and animals, hunting feral animals, and holding rodeos. This means we also administer or require permit holders to adhere to the following acts and regulations:

The Development Act 1993 (and regulations) and the Local Government Act 1999 allow councils to restrict the species and number of animals a person may keep on their property. Councils can take action if animals are kept in unhygienic conditions or in a way that can impact on neighbours.


The Regulations prescribe standards and conditions to ensure that captive and farmed native animals are cared for and housed appropriately.

The following information will help you adhere to laws and best practice: