Australian native animals

Advice about the management and care of Australian native animals for NSW schools.

In NSW all native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are protected by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for administering the Biodiversity Conservation Act and previously managed the keeping of native animals in classrooms under individual scientific licences that were issued to teachers.

A recent change to the licensing process has allowed for the school sectors (NSW Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW and Association of Independent Schools) to hold the scientific licence on behalf of their schools, allowing staff to keep the following species in the classroom for educational purpose (provided animals are legitimately acquired from licensed captive sources):

This scientific licence, allowing the keeping of these five species, has been amalgamated with the existing scientific licence allowing schools to collect, observe and then return tadpoles (frogs) to their capture site. This combined licence will be valid until 2026.

This means that schools no longer have to make individual applications for scientific licences to keep any of the above five species of native animals in the classroom BUT the teacher responsible for the animal must complete and submit Declaration form 6. This fulfils the legislative requirement placed upon the school sectors and is a condition of the licence.

The school staff named on the Animal Research Authority, issued annually by each school sector, will be authorised to keep and use the animal species listed above for the purposes of teaching and research, provided that the activities are in accordance with the provisions described on this website in the notes for each species (see the links above).

This means that the guidelines describing the environment, enclosure, nutrition, hygiene and any other requirements must be adhered to. Failure to comply could result in a breach of the Animal Research Act.

If a teacher wishes to hold any other native species not listed above, known as a legacy species, the teacher must apply for a scientific licence on a case by case basis. This application involves approval from the Schools Animal Care and Ethics Committee (SACEC) followed by Wildlife Licensing issuing an individual scientific licence. Application to the SACEC must be made using Application form 3.

Full details about the licence conditions for the collection, observation and return of tadpoles (frogs) are provided at Tadpoles.

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