What is a zoo licence?
From Whipsnade zoo to London zoo, everybody loves visiting the zoo, but what does it take to actually run and operate a zoo?
You need a zoo licence if you will be displaying wild animals to the public, with or without charge for admission, for at least 7 days a year.
The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 defines a "zoo" as an establishment where:
- Wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public, not including circuses and pet shop (separate licences are required).
- Any zoo to which members of the public have access, with or without a charge for admission, and on more than seven days in any period of 12 consecutive months.
Zoos range from traditional zoos and safari parks to small specialist collections, such as butterfly houses and aquaria.
How to apply for a zoo licence
Zoo Licence applications must be made via your local council. You can find the contact details for your local council at the Official UK Government Website
Zoo licence application evaluation process
Applying for a zoo licence is a specialist field and the regulations are complex. It is recommended that a specialist officer from your local council is contacted first for advice and guidance. You may also need planning permission and you should therefore contact the planning unit to discuss whether permission will be needed.
Prior to granting a zoo licence an inspection of the premises will be made by local council officers, veterinary surgeons and zoo inspectors.
- NOTE - Before applying for a zoo licence, you must first provide the local council with at least 2 months’ written notice that you intend to apply