Importing and keeping introduced animals in Western Australia

Page last updated: Friday, 17 May 2024 - 3:29pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Information is provided on the requirements for importing and keeping regulated animals in Western Australia.

Introduced animals

Introduced animals have been brought to a country or location where they don’t occur naturally. Introduced animals are also called exotic or alien species.

Mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians that are introduced or relocated to new areas often cause problems to agriculture, the environment and the community. Problems can occur because animals often;

  • damage agricultural crops
  • displace native animals and plants
  • carry diseases or parasites
  • damage property
  • cause land degradation
  • have a negative impact on pets.

Captive animals can escape or be liberated, and over time establish populations in the wild. The harm they cause to agriculture and the environment is not always obvious at first. It may take many years for populations to reach pest proportions, but once established they are impossible to eradicate in most cases. Work to control pest animals and reduce the damage they cause imposes an enormous cost to society.

It is primarily introduced animals that are declared pests under the Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Act 2007 (BAM Act) by the Minister for Agriculture and Food, Western Australia.

The Biosecurity and Agriculture Management Regulations 2013 (regulations) specify keeping categories to regulate declared animals for the purposes they can be kept, and who or what entities can keep them for that purpose. A keeping permit or licence is the administrative tool used to assign conditions to a species declared under the BAM Act.

Declared animals prohibited under the BAM Act require an import permit to enter Western Australia.

Western Australian Organism List (WAOL)

WAOL is an online database of all animals, plants and pathogens declared under the BAM Act.

The following information for declared animals is available by accessing WAOL.

Declared Status – This designates under which section of the act the species is declared

  • section 11 - permitted organism
  • section 12 - prohibited organism and a declared pest (import prohibited except in accordance with an import permit and the regulations)
  • section 22(2) - declared pest
  • section 14 – unlisted organism (import prohibited except in accordance with an import permit and the regulations).

Control Category - This designates the method of control used to manage risk

  • C1 exclusion (entry prohibited)
  • C2 eradication (remove incursions)
  • C3 management (manage populations to lessen harmful impact).

Keeping Category - This designates the level of security assigned to the keeping of a species

  • Prohibited (no keeping as a pet or in aviculture)
  • Restricted (permit to keep as a pet or in aviculture)
  • Exempt (no permit required to keep).

Directions for using WAOL Enter the scientific or common name to query or search the WAOL. It is recommended to search by scientific name rather than the common name as this will provide one record, whereas using a common name will provide records for any plant, animal and pathogen containing your search term. Search the WA Organism List (WAOL) database.

All section 12 declared animals (includes birds regulated as restricted keeping) are prohibited and require an import permit from DPIRD to enter WA.  Import permits must be obtained prior to the animal entering WA and presented to Quarantine WA at the border checkpoints.

Keeping categories

The regulations specify prohibited and restricted keeping categories for declared animals. The tables in the bulletin Importing and keeping introduced animals in Western Australia (see side of page) will assist readers to determine the legal restrictions applicable to declared terrestrial birds and mammals. The tables are lists of declared pests that require a permit to keep in aviculture, as pets or companions, or livestock. Some exempt keeping species are listed as they have other requirements. 

The tables are not exhaustive and do not necessarily set out all restrictions or conditions applicable under the BAM Act, regulations, or other legislation. Species not listed in the tables can be looked up using the WAOL.

WA native or indigenous animals, as listed by the Western Australian Museum, are permitted organisms. A few native species are declared pests under the BAM Act because they are pests of agriculture.

It is important to note that all eastern Australian native animals are prohibited under the BAM Act unless they have been assessed and declared permitted.

Distinct from the BAM Act, all Australian native animals are regulated under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act) administered by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA).

In addition to any BAM Act permits animals native to Australia may also require import or keeping permits issued by DBCA.

People who keep animals without the appropriate permit, or who do not comply with the conditions of a permit, may be prosecuted and have to forfeit their animals.

Please be responsible and legal, obtain a permit before you acquire any animal regulated under the BAM Act, and always comply with the conditions written on the permit.

If you are unsure of the legal requirements and restrictions applicable to a species, please contact DPIRD Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881, or email

Prohibited: Animals regulated as prohibited keeping can only be kept with a permit for public display and education, or genuine scientific research purposes, by state approved organisations. Animals in this category pose a significant biosecurity risk to WA, and must be kept under conditions of high security. Biosecurity risk includes risk to the environment, agriculture and public safety.

Restricted: Animals regulated as restricted keeping have been assessed as posing a lower biosecurity risk to WA and can be kept with a permit by private individuals. Restricted animals can only be sold or transferred to other permit holders.

Exempt: Animals regulated as exempt keeping under the BAM Act do not require a permit to keep. However other requirements may apply, such as for the import and movement of livestock, import of pigeons and doves, and Australian native animals.

Assessment of new species

Species not listed on WAOL are considered new (unlisted) to WA and must be assessed to determine risks to the State’s biosecurity. Permts to import or keep unlisted animals will not be issued until the species is assessed. A charge may apply for completion of an assessment, please see Invasive Species Applications.

Decisions on importation are made after careful consideration of both short and long-term consequences of allowing a species to enter WA. The assessment considers pest potential and the risk of a species establishing a population in the wild. Many animals are approved to enter with a permit, and conditions of entry and keeping. Some animals are not permitted to enter because they pose too great a risk. Permits to import or keep unlisted animals are not issued prior to completion of an assessment.

Permit conditions, applications and fees

Enquiries concerning the import and keeping of declared animals in WA may be addressed to DPIRD Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881, or email 

There is a charge for each application and any subsequent property inspections carried out by DPIRD. Charges are payable by the importer, exporter or owner of the animal prior to a permit being processed. Refer to Invasive Species Applications for charges and application forms. On receipt of an application, DPIRD will issue an invoice.

Applications can be emailed to DPIRD at Applications may also be mailed to DPIRD, Invasive Species and Environment Biosecurity Locked Bag 4 Bently Delivery Centre WA 6983.

A property inspection may be required to evaluate conditions and structures to meet DPIRD policy. Inspections are carried out by DPIRD biosecurity officers. Permits are issued once all requirements are met.

When enclosure plans are submitted and a site inspected prior to the commencement of any construction or fencing, a provisional permit may be issued and the endorsed permit issued after the final inspection.

Import permits are issued according to the proposed date of importation. Keeping permits are issued for fixed periods, usually two to three years, maximum is 5 years. A permit to keep must be renewed prior to the expiry date.

Import permits must be obtained from the department prior to entry to WA.

To obtain an import permit complete an Import application and submit it to

A fee will apply; refer to Invasive Species Applications for current charges and forms.

Birds kept in aviculture: Permits to keep birds regulated in the restricted keeping category are issued by DBCA Wildlife Licensing on behalf of DPIRD. This arrangement allows a central register to be maintained, and avoids duplication for bird keepers by having one department responsible for issuing all aviculture permits. The fee charged is $30 for a one-year permit or $40 for a three-year permit. 

Email a completed form, identification and payment details to Wildlife Licensing. Upon receipt of an application, licensing will advise if a site inspection is required. Contact DBCA Parks and Wildlife Licensing: Phone (08) 93340440, (08) 93340441 or email

Restrictions apply on the maximum number of birds allowed to be held for each species kept with a permit at a location. Consult the tables in the bulletin for numbers.

The restriction on bird numbers is necessary to mitigate the risk of establishment in the wild resulting from high number of birds escaping at once. The restrictions apply to birds kept in private aviculture as pets or by hobby breeders, not registered commercial breeders. If hobby breeders exceed the limits due to unrestricted breeding they must reduce the numbers held by moving birds to other permit holders.

General conditions are applied to all permits, specific conditions are applied for a particular species or situation. Wire netting, enclosure and keeping conditions are specified for various groups of birds and mammals. Some species may require special conditions such as keeping limited to genuine society breeders, provision of minimum flight aviaries, or participation in official breeding programs.

General conditions are:

  • A permit is not transferable and relates only to the person to whom it is issued.
  • A person can only dispose of animals kept under a permit to other permit holders.
  • Annual returns must be provided, listing the species and numbers held, and contact details of the recipients of any animal transfers.
  • Animals held under permit that escape must be immediately reported to DPIRD Pest and Disease Information Service on 1800 084 881, or email
  • Animals held in captivity must not be liberated, nor attempts made to liberate them.
  • The permit holder has a legal obligation to prevent escape of animals held under a permit.
  • Permits can be revoked when animals are not held as the permit conditions specify.
  • Animals imported from overseas countries must comply with conditions and requirements determined by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Red deer (Cervus elaphus), fallow deer (Dama dama) and water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis) are declared pests that require a permit to keep. DPIRD conditions are available for regulated deer, as is a code of practice for keeping buffalo in WA.

Declared pests regulated as exempt keeping under the BAM Act do not require permit to keep, but may require licenses under the BC Act, contact Wildlife Licensing.

Quarantine inspections 

Animals entering WA through the state barrier are inspected by DPIRD quarantine officers. Inspectors check for species' identity and necessary permits. It is very important to check if your animal is exempt from permits prior to presenting at the checkpoint.

Prohibited animals without an import permit are refused entry; you will not be able to enter WA with the animal.

Unwanted animals

Contact DPIRD or DBCA for advice on options for re-homing unwanted birds and other animals. Surrendered animals are relocated with a responsible keeper, whenever possible. A person who releases (unless in accordance with a permit) or abandons, or fails to take reasonable precautions to prevent the escape of a declared animal, commits an offence and can be subject to fines under the BAM Act.

Quarantine requirements  

DPIRD requirements must be meet prior to entry of livestock, pigeons and doves, regardless of whether these are kept as pets or for commercial purposes

All ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer, bison, buffalo), equines (horses, ponies, mules, donkeys), camels, camelids (alpaca, llama) and pigs (including mini or miniature pigs) are considered livestock.

DPIRD health and fibre requirements must be met before entry to WA and a Waybill is required when livestock is moved.

Contact Quarantine WA on +61 (0)8 9334 1800, Fax +61 (0)8 9334 1880, Email For information on specific import requirements for livestock use the Quarantine WA Import Requirements Search.

Please refer to the bulletin Importing and keeping introduced animals in Western Australia (see side of page) for introduced animal lists, further information on the regulation of declared pests, and guidence on using the WAOL. 

Report suspicious activities

Please report suspicious activities such as the illegal importation or sale of illegal animals or plants, or the keeping of exotic animals or birds to AgWatch for further investigation.