Zoo Licence

Thinking of opening up a zoo, you will need a Zoo Licence first. Well, this isn’t just monkey business, you know.


Zoo Licence


Local council

COST £600
VALID FOR 4 years

The applicant must give notice in writing to the local council of their intention. This must include:

The zoo's location
The types and number of animals kept for exhibition, and the arrangements for accommodation, maintenance and well-being
The numbers and roles of staff to be employed at the zoo
The maximum number of visitors and vehicles admitted onsite at any one time
How customers will access the premises
Explanation of how conservation measures will be implemented at the zoo

The applicant must publish notice of intention in the following:

One local newspaper
One national newspaper
The notice must identify the location of the zoo and state that the application notice is available to be inspected at the local authority offices
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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?


We make getting your Zoo licence simple, stress-free process


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 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.




A zoo is defined as being 'an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition to which members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, seven or more days in any period of twelve consecutive months'.
No. If you open a zoo without a zoo licence you could receive a fine of up to £2,500. You may also face a fine if you don’t follow the conditions of the zoo licence if you have one.
Once you have successfully obtained a zoo licence you must display your licence or a copy of it at each entrance to the zoo. This must be visible to visitors and members of the public.
If for what ever reason you wish to transfer your zoo licence to another individual you will need to seek approval from the local authority first. Only then will you be able to transfer your zoo licence to another individual.
Yes. Your zoo licence will need to be renewed after 4 years. The renewal process will need to be completed via the local authority.

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