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Photographing Wildlife Licence

While capturing photos of animals in their natural habitat may be a hobble or past time for many amateur and professional photographers, if you want to snap pictures of wild birds or certain protected animals, you will need a Photographing Wildlife Licence.

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What is a Photographing Wildlife Licence?

While wildlife photography can be a great past time for both amateur and professional photographers, it is also a responsibility to ensure that animals are given both the respect and privacy within their natural habitat.

In Northern Ireland, certain wildlife animals are listed as protected. As a result, any photographer that wishes to photograph any protected animal must seek authorisation from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

This authorisation comes in the form of a Photographing Wildlife Licence and permits authorised individuals to take photos of protected animals that would otherwise be illegal.

What are classed as protected animals?

Protected animals in relation to a Photographing Wildlife Licence include badgers, pine martens, common newts, common lizards, freshwater mussels and certain species of butterfly.

It is an offensive to disturb any of these listed animals or damage or destroy anything which conceals or protects the entrance to the shelter of a protected animal.

How to apply for a Photographing Wildlife Licence

Applications for a Photographing Wildlife Licence can be made via the Official Northern Ireland Environment Agency Website.

FAQs

Yes, but when photographing wild birds or certain protected animals, it is an offensive to disturb listed animals in the wild without authorisation. As a result, a photographer without a Photographing Wildlife Licence may be fined up to £5,000 or imprisoned if they disturb listed animals or put them in any type of danger.
All applications for a Photographing Wildlife Licence must include details of previous wildlife offences that have been committed by the applicant. While previous offences may affect your application, the final decision will lay with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
You may not need a Photographing Wildlife Licence if you intend to take photos from a long distance that would not cause a disturbance. Applicants should contact Northern Ireland Environment Agency.