Wildlife as Pets

There are a number of municipal, provincial and federal regulations that address the ownership of wildlife as pets. The information that follows is meant only as a guideline and is not a comprehensive explanation of the wildlife regulations.

If you are thinking about importing or possessing a species of wildlife for a pet, contact a Fish and Wildlife officer for advice on the laws related to your specific situation.

Have the animal’s proper scientific name (its genus and species) when you contact the officer. For example:

Common Name Scientific Name
Plains garter snake Thamnophis radix
Rock Dove (Pigeon) Columba livia
Snowshoe hare Lepus americanus

To locate contact information for an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Office near you, see:

Frequently Asked Questions about Wildlife as Pets

Do I need a permit to keep wildlife as a pet?

Most wildlife requires a zoo or research permit to possess live. Contact a Fish and Wildlife Division office to ask about the species you are interested in and the permits required for your particular situation.

A small number of Alberta wildlife species that are classified as non-licence animals under the provincial Wildlife Act can be kept as a pet without a permit. However, because of the risk of spreading rabies, bats, skunks or raccoons cannot be kept as pets.

What provincial laws apply to keeping wildlife?

What local bylaws apply to keeping wildlife?

In addition to provincial laws, there may also be municipal bylaws that apply to the possession of certain pets. Contact your municipality to learn about the bylaws that apply in your situation.

Do I need a permit to own a hybrid of a wolf and a dog

No. Alberta’s legislation does not prohibit a person from owning a hybrid of a wolf and a dog. Under provincial law, wolves are classified as furbearing animals and so cannot be kept as pets, but wolf/dog crosses can be legally possessed without special permits.

Before getting a wolf/dog cross, contact your municipal office as local bylaws may place restrictions on owning such pets.

Do I need a permit to own a hybrid of a wild cat and a house cat?

Savannah cats (hybrid of a house cat and a serval cat), Bengal cats (hybrid of a house cat and an Asian leopard) and ocecats (hybrid of a house cat and an ocelot) are considered to be domestic cats, provided they are registered with The International Cat Association (TICA) as being an F4 generation or greater (such as an F5 or F6). A permit is not required to own one of these registered F4 or greater cats.

It is recommended that people who wish to import or possess these cats keep all TICA paperwork regarding the cat’s breed and ancestry in the event that wildlife officials request to see it.

Keep in mind that importing such animals into Canada may require a federal CITES permit.

What is a CITES permit?

A CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora) permit is often required when importing or exporting wildlife across Canadian borders.

Federal regulations about the import/export of wildlife must be followed, in addition to the municipal bylaws and provincial wildlife laws regarding the import/export and possession of wildlife.

How do I apply for A CITES permit?

You must apply to the Canadian Wildlife Service for a CITES permit. For more information about CITES permits, contact the Canadian Wildlife Service at:

  • Tel: 819 997-2800 or 1 800 668-6767 (toll free)

You can also visit the Environment Canada website at:

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about CITES permits or if you need assistance completing an application form, please contact:

I am planning to move to Canada and hope to bring my wildlife pets with me. What should I know first?

First, you need to know if that particular species is allowed to be kept as a pet in Alberta. Contact a Fish and Wildlife Division office before bringing any wildlife into Alberta.

Second, there are federal endangered species laws that may apply import controls and/or control over the possession of certain species for a commercial purpose. Contact the Canadian Wildlife Service for more information. Additionally, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency maintains certain restrictions on importing animals into Canada because of animal health or human health-related concerns.

 

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Updated: Apr 17, 2018