Australian native animals


Using these notes

These notes:

    • have been written to be consistent with community, industry and research and teaching based animal welfare legislation
    • apply to all schools in NSW, government and non-government
    • contain standards (in a red box at the beginning of each section) and guidelines. The standards must be met by schools, in accordance with the requirements of the Animal Research Authority. The guidelines are the desirable practices to achieve desirable animal welfare outcomes
    • reflect available scientific knowledge, current practice and community expectations.

In NSW all native mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Schools are permitted to keep native animals if the following conditions are met. A teacher is responsible for the animals and:

    • holds a scientific licence
    • has or gains an appropriate depth of understanding of the physical and behavioural needs of the species kept
    • obtains animals from licensed breeders or keepers.

Scientific licences

Scientific licences are issued by the Office of Environment and Heritage and allow native animals to be kept at school for educational purposes and be transported for holiday care. They only permit the keeping of native animals, not breeding. Teachers who intend to breed native animals must contact the Schools Animal Welfare Officer to discuss licensing options.

There are two situations where teachers do not need to seek a scientific licence. These are as follows:

    1. Schools are automatically licensed by the Office of Environment and Heritage to collect up to 20 tadpoles to use for observation in the classroom. This licence is provided with the Animal Research Authority. Tadpoles must not be collected from a National Park and the frogs must be released back to the water source from where they were originally collected. Frogs provides more information about this licence and advice about the care of tadpoles.
    2. There are 41 species of native birds that are an exception to this and may be kept without a scientific licence. These species are:
        • Sulphur-crested cockatoo
        • Galah
        • Little corella
        • Long-billed corella
        • Western corella
        • Cockatiel
        • Red-collared lorikeet
        • Scaly-breasted lorikeet
        • Musk lorikeet
        • Rainbow lorikeet
        • Port Lincoln parrot
        • Twenty-eight parrot
        • Hooded parrot
        • Red-rumped parrot
        • Red-capped parrot
        • Princess parrot
        • Bourke’s parrot
        • Elegant parrot
        • Scarlet-chested parrot
        • Adelaide rosella
        • Pale-headed parrot
        • Eastern rosella
        • Western rosella
        • Budgerigar
        • Bar-shouldered dove
        • Diamond dove
        • Emerald dove
        • Peaceful dove
        • Common bronzewing
        • Crested pigeon
        • Brown quail
        • King quailstubble quail
        • Little button-quail
        • Painted button-quail
        • Blue-faced parrot-finch
        • Gouldian finch
        • Painted finch
        • Star finch
        • Zebra finch.

For information about how to apply for a scientific licence and the conditions of this licence you should visit Licensing.

Approved Activities Category
Incursions involving outside agencies that have animals as part of their exhibits 2

An excellent way for students to learn more about native animals and have a hands-on experience is through visits by external agencies that keep native animals. These animals are generally well conditioned to the stimulation created by numbers of students and the handlers can provide valuable information and support so that students have a valuable learning experience.

Office of Environment and Heritage – Native animals