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State permit policies & procedures

Back to US State index



The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website is here:

There is no information specific to research permits


Brenda Lord, Wildlife Secretary
Wildlife Resource Assessment Section
Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
650 State Street
Bangor, ME 04401
Phone: (207) 941-4463
Fax: (207) 941-4450 FAX

For permit for possession of live wildlife:
Vasco Carter, Staff Biologist
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
41 SHS, 284 State Street
Augusta, ME 04333-0041
Telephone: (207) 287-5252
Fax: (207) 287-6395

Is a permit required for banding?

Yes. There is an application form specifically for banding permits.

Permit application forms

State lands

To be determined.

Prior notice

Check permit conditions. Even if not expressly required to do so, you should always contact the manager of that particular state land unit or with the owner of private land before your arrival. You want to be aware of the hunting seasons, and, of course want to be sure that your activities will not interfere with the activities of that park, wildlife management area, or other state land unit, and that your activities will not adversely affect public use of the land or with the activities of private landowners.


State-listed threatened and endangered species

Common Name Scientific Name Status Distribution

Least Tern                   Sterna albifrons   Endangered Statewide
Golden Eagle              Aquila chrysaetos   Endangered Statewide
Piping Plover              Charadrius Melodus   Endangered Statewide
Sedge Wren                 Cistothorus platensis   Endangered Statewide
Grasshopper sparrow   Ammodramus avannarum   Endangered Statewide
Roseate Tern                Sterna dougallii   Threatened Statewide
Bald Eagle                   Haliaeetus leucocephalus   Threatened Statewide

Scientific collecting



6.01 Permit Required
A scientific collection permit is required by any person who wishes to take, transport or possess wild birds or animals and their parts or products for scientific research or educational purposes at any time of the year; and/or before any person may lawfully salvage, otherwise acquire, transport or possess wild birds and animals for any purpose not specifically covered under any other permit or license. A Scientific Collection (Rehabilitation) Permit is required for the possession of debilitated wild birds and animals for the purpose of restoring them to full health and for maintaining in captivity any debilitated wildlife that cannot be released to the wild. Temporary rehabilitation permit may be issued upon warden or biologist recommendation/approval without formal application.

6.02 Application Form
Applications for scientific collection and Rehabilitation permits must be submitted on an appropriate application form to be provided by the Commissioner.

6.03 Submission of Application
Completed applications for all Scientific Collection Permits should be submitted to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

6.04 Supporting Information
If any applicant plans to utilize firearms or archery for any purpose while conducting activities covered by a scientific collection permit, the application must be accompanied by proof that the applicant possesses a current valid Maine hunting license. This requirement also applies to any subpermittee listed on the application. Also, if applicable, proof must be furnished of a valid federal scientific collection special purpose permit. Issuance of Wildlife Rehabilitation permit shall be subject to successful completion of an examination, which may include a written test to show proficiency and knowledge in the area of wildlife husbandry and rehabilitation and the laws and regulations of the State and Department.

Applicants with 3 or more consecutive years of active rehabilitation permits will not be required to take a written examination.

6.05 Incomplete Applications
Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

6.06 Age
Applicants must be 16 years of age or older.

6.07 Grounds for Permit Denial
Upon receipt of a properly executed permit application, the Commissioner may issue a permit unless:
A. The applicant has been assessed a civil penalty or convicted of any criminal statute or regulation relating to the activity for which the application is filed if such conviction or assessment evidences a lack of responsibility.
B. The applicant has failed to disclose information required or has made false statements as to any material fact in connection with his application.
C. The applicant has failed to demonstrate a valid justification for the permit.
D. The authorization requested potentially threatens a wildlife population.
E. Applicant fails to take or pass a written or oral examination if required.

6.08 Rights of Permittee
Permits shall entitle the person to whom issued to engage in the activity specified in the permit for the prescribed time unless the permit is terminated. A Rehabilitation permit does not provide for ownership of any wildlife by individuals or institutions, nor for any other use of wildlife beyond that associated with the rehabilitation or approved educational use of the wildlife species involved. Wildlife possessed by virtue of a rehabilitation permit may not be sold, bartered, or traded. This is not to prohibit the transfer of debilitated wildlife to another permittee for treatment or care, or of non-releasable wildlife to more appropriate facilities.

6.09 Responsibility for Rehabilitation Costs
Food and shelter costs, veterinary costs or charges, any labor or consultation charges, transportation or any other costs or charges associated with the rehabilitation of wildlife are the responsibility of the permittee. Permittee may not charge any third party for such costs unless said permittee is a Maine licensed veterinarian.
Donations may be accepted.

6.10 Records; Reports
The person to whom the permit is issued shall maintain complete and accurate records of any activity conducted pursuant to such permit. A report of these activities shall be submitted to the Commissioner within 30 days following permit expiration or with request for renewal. Report forms shall be provided by the Commissioner. Notification must be made within 48 hours to the permit authority if the species involved is included on the Maine Endangered Species or Threatened Species list.

6.11 Renewal Requirements
Permits are renewable and may be renewed:
A. If a satisfactory report of work accomplished during the the preceding year is submitted.
B. If, in order to meet a stated objective the permittee intends to continue the activity described in the permit during any portion of the year ensueing its expiration.
C. If the above criteria are met and the permittee requests the renewal.

6.12 Transfer of Permits Prohibited; Exception
Permits are not transferable; except any person/s employed by or under contract to the permittee for the purposes authorized by the permit may carry out the authorized activity; provided the permittee notifies the Department in writing of the name and address of those person/s so authorized by him prior to commencement of field work. A copy of this letter will be carried by the individual while conducting activities under the permittee's supervision.

6.13 Penalty
Any violation of these rules and regulations or the conditions of any permit may subject the permittee to the following:
A. Upon conviction, punishment as provided by Section 7901, Title 12.
B. Revocation of the permit. When revoked permits must be surrendered to the Commissioner on demand.


March 1, 1976 (Filed 6-1-79)

May 1, 1977 (Filed 6-1-79)
November 2, 1986 - Section 4
November 8, 1987

February 1, 1999 - converted to Micro

Possession of live wildlife



Scope: These rules shall apply to the possession of any wildlife in captivity and to the importation of wildlife from an area outside the State, pursuant to Title 12 MRSA. These rules are organized into general provisions applying to all permits under this Chapter, followed by specific provisions applying to each part. The approval of permits shall be subject to the ability of the applicant to meet the provisions of these rules and other legal requirements.

Part I. General Provisions

7.00 Permit Required:
A permit is required to take alive, possess or import any native or exotic wildlife for the following purposes pursuant to Title 12 MRSA Section 7235-C: Wildlife Exhibit, including any commercial display of wildlife; General Wildlife Possession, including propagation or personal use of wildlife; Wildlife Rehabilitation. Wildlife Importation, pursuant to 12 MRSA Section 7237; and Scientific Collection pursuant to 12 MRSA Section 7242.

7.01 Unrestricted Species:
Any wildlife species designated by the Commissioner as "unrestricted" (Section 7235-C, subsection 1, paragraph B) shall not be subject to a possession permit under Section 7235-C. Unrestricted species shall be maintained in a humane and safe manner that does not jeopardize public health and safety, the welfare of the animal, or cause a public disturbance.

7.02 Application Procedures:
Requests for Wildlife Possession and Importation permits shall be made on application forms provided by the Department. The facilities where the wildlife will be kept shall be subject to a site inspection and approval by the Department before a permit may be issued.

7.03 Technical Committee:
The Commissioner shall appoint a Technical Consulting Committee to provide advice regarding proposed wildlife possession and importation permits. The Committee shall include a representative from the Department's Bureau of Resource Management, the State Animal Welfare Board, State Veterinarian, a current wildlife possession permit holder; and 3 individuals having training or experience in wildlife conservation, vertebrate zoology, veterinary medicine, herpetology, or the husbandry of captive wildlife. The Commissioner will ordinarily consult with the Technical Committee prior to issuing a permit to obtain pertinent information and advice regarding the proposed possession or importation of wildlife.

7.05 Review of Permit:
An applicant or permittee under this section who wishes to contest a permit condition may make a request in writing to the Commissioner, who may hear information and consult with such experts and professionals as may be appropriate to substantiate issues of public health and safety, animal welfare, or other facts relevant to the DepartmentŐs responsibilities under this Chapter, and take action accordingly.

7.06 Inspections:
Inspections of wildlife facilities and required records by authorized Department personnel and animal welfare agents may be made at all reasonable times. Findings of inspections may be provided in writing to the permittee upon request.

7.07 Grounds for Permit Denial:
The Commissioner may deny a permit when:
1. The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the purpose or methodology for the possession is legitimate under Maine statute and rules.
2. The applicant does not have appropriate facilities or has failed to satisfactorily demonstrate the capability and qualifications to perform the functions required.
3. The possession or activities requested potentially and unreasonably threaten a wildlife population or the public welfare.

7.08 Conditions and Restrictions:
1. Species with Special Needs or Considerations: The Commissioner may set special conditions on a permit to mitigate potential impacts on, or from, wildlife having special needs and to ensure the welfare of such wildlife. The Commissioner may seek the advise of experts on the species involved to provide for such special needs and to ensure the welfare of the wildlife.
2. Federal Permit Requirements: If applicable, proof must be furnished of a valid federal wildlife possession or importation permit, and compliance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
3. Display of Permit: All permits issued for the possession of wildlife shall be made available for inspection by Department representatives and animal welfare agents.
4. Security and Shelter: Wildlife held in captivity must be contained, controlled, and sheltered in such a way as to protect it, and to protect property of others and the public health and safety.
5. Emergency Plan: A written Emergency Plan shall be submitted with the application for use in the event of occurrences such as: (1) severe damage to enclosures due to fire, wind, or floods; (2) animals attacking and /or injuring humans, other animals or property; and (3) the escape of any animal in captivity. The plan shall include an updated list of dangerous wildlife in captivity, the availability of capture equipment and weapons with specific instructions as to the precise circumstances under which dangerous wildlife are to be destroyed. Such plan shall be available and produced at the request of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, Department representative or Animal Control Officer. Local police or the local game warden shall be immediately notified of the escape of a dangerous animal.
6. Costs of recovery or handling. The permittee shall be responsible for all costs incurred by the State resulting from the escape or release of wildlife, or for the necessary confiscation of wildlife from the premises of the permittee, or as the result of the revocation of the possession permit. The Commissioner may require the posting of a bond or other financial security for this purpose.
7. Health and Comfort: (a) No animal shall be chained or otherwise tethered to a stake , post, tree, building or any other anchorage at any time except for training or other controlled activities, for medical treatment or grooming of such animals or as otherwise provided herein. (b) All animals held in outdoor enclosures shall be provided with adequate shelter from inclement weather and direct sunlight. Each cage or enclosure shall have shelter sufficient to simultaneously protect all animals contained therein. (c) All animals shall be provided with quarters that maintain a temperature meeting the biological needs of the animal. (d) Handling of animals shall be done as expeditiously and carefully as possible, in such a way as to avoid unnecessary discomfort, behavioral stress, or physical harm to the animal.. All wildlife shall be provided with appropriate veterinary care to include care for injuries and for the control of contagious, parasitic, and nutritional diseases.
8. Sanitation: All cages and enclosures shall be kept in a sanitary condition. Regular cleaning schedules shall be maintained. Trash, spilled food and fecal materials shall be removed at least once each day and more often if necessary. Cages may not be stacked in such a way that excrement may enter lower enclosures.
9. Food and Water: a.) An adequate supply of potable water shall be available in cages and enclosures for drinking, washing or other purposes necessary to the species being contained. b.) Regular feeding schedules shall be maintained; the rations supplied shall be adequate, nutritious, and so far as possible consistent with the food which is ordinarily eaten by such animals in the wild. Food shall be sufficient to maintain proper strength and healthy appearance. c.) Areas used for the preparation and storage of food shall be sufficiently clean to prevent contamination by pathogens or harmful substances. Meat, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables to be fed to animals shall be properly refrigerated to prevent spoilage. d.) Food for animals shall be stored in such a way as to prevent damage of food from weather, rodents, insects and animals.
10. Cage Requirements :
a. The following are minimum caging requirements for animals kept in captivity. Any permittee possessing or wishing to obtain an animal not included below shall contact the Commissioner of the Department who will determine an appropriate cage size and holding requirements. The permittee shall comply with all such requirements set by the Commissioner.

1. General requirements - Enclosures for flying birds shall either be small enough to inhibit flying altogether, or large enough to permit aerial maneuvering within the enclosure. Any enclosure not sufficiently large may result in injuries from birds flying into the sides of the enclosures.

2. Parrot-type (macaws, large cockatoos).
a. Number or size - Single bird.
b. Cage size - adequate room for turning and sitting on a perch without touching its tail against sides or bottom of cage is required.
c. Accessories - Suitable perch that is large enough so that the claws do not meet on the underside.

3. Medium-sized parrots (small cockatoos, yellow-heads, grays, Amazons).
a. Number or size - Up to 2 specimens.
b. Cage size - 18" long x 18" wide x 24" high.
c. Accessories - 1 suitable perch per bird; diameter of perch must be large enough so that claws do not meet on the underside.

4. Small parrots (lovebirds, parakeets, and similar parrots).
a. Number or size - 1 or 2 birds.
b. Cage size - 12" long x 24" wide x 10" high. Community cages must provide flight space.
c. Accessories - 1 or more suitable perches (diameter must be large enough so that claws do not meet on underside).

5. Waterfowl.
a. Number or size - Not more than 2 pairs of adults or 1 pair and offspring of the year.
b. Cage size - 100 sq. ft. of area with adequate water to meet the biological needs of the species.

6. Eagles, hawks, owls, vultures, toucans and toucanets.
a. Number or size - Single bird.
b. Cage size - Cage must be wide enough for the bird to spread its wings and fly-hop from floor to perch. Width shall be 2 times greater than wingspread. Perch to ground shall be twice as long as its body. Length of cage shall be 5 times the body length. Increase cage size by 50% in length and 25% in width for each additional bird.
c. Accessories - At least 1 suitable perch per bird (the diameter of the perch shall be large enough so that talons do not meet on the underside). For large birds of prey, a stump high enough that when a bird is perched, the tail feathers are 6" off the floor. Roof of cage shall be of sufficient height to permit the bird to rest erect on any of the perches.

7. Wild turkeys, peafowl and curassows.
a. Number or size - 1 to 3 birds.
b. Cage size - 144 sq. ft. of horizontal space. Male peafowl must have adequate turning room for its tail. Enclosures shall be at least 6' high.
c. Accessories - Must have at least 1 roost perch approximately 4' from floor.

8. Lesser game birds, pheasants, and others of similar size.
a. Number or size - 1 to 5 birds.
b. Cage size - 100 sq. ft. of horizontal space. Enclosure shall be at least 6' high. Each additional bird requires an additional 20 sq. ft.
c. Accessories - Must have at least 1 roost perch approximately 30" from the floor.

9. Community groups of finches and seedeaters.
a. Number or size - Community group of 25 or less.
b. Cage size - 4' wide x 8' long x 8' high.

10. Medium-size flight birds (jays, starlings, doves, pigeons, and others of similar size).
a. Number or size - 1 to 2 birds.
b. Cage size - 3' long x 2' wide x 5' high. For a community group the cage must be large enough to allow flying and be at least 8' in diameter. These birds may be kept in a parrot-style cage.

11. Wading birds (flamingos, ibises, spoonbills, herons, egrets, and others of similar size and habits.
a. Number or size - 1 to 5 birds.
b. Cage size - 144 sq. ft. of horizontal space. Birds in open, fenced areas shall be pinioned.
c. Accessories - Shallow pools for wading plus dry land areas.

12. Storks and cranes.
a. Number or size - 1 pair.
b. Cage size - 144 sq. ft. of horizontal space.

13. Pelicans, cormorants and swans.
a. Number or size - 2 birds.
b. Cage size - 144 sq. ft. of horizontal space. 50% of area shall be water at least 18" deep. Add 25% more area in land and pool for each additional bird.

14. Penguins.
a. Number or size - 1 pair.
b. Cage size - 100 sq. ft. of horizontal space of which 50% is water at least 36" deep. Add 10% area in water and land for each additional bird.
c. Accessories - Water must be cooled to 55 degrees Fahrenheit and be flowing. Chilled waters shall not be required for HumboldtŐs penguins.

7.09 Penalty:
Any violation of these rules or the conditions of any permit may subject the permittee to the following:
1. Upon conviction of a violation relating to this Chapter, punishment as provided by Title 12 MRSA Section 7901-A.
2. Suspension or revocation of the permit pursuant to 12 MRSA Section 7077.