Captive Wildlife Permits

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is responsible for the issuance of permits for certain captive wildlife species. In order to legally possess certain wildlife species, persons must do so in accordance with specific regulations: 

  • No one can possess a Class 1 or Class 2 species without first obtaining the appropriate permit.
  • Class 1 species are considered inherently dangerous to humans and may only be possessed by permitted exhibitors or commercial propagators.
  • Personal possession of any Class 1 species is not allowed.
  • Class 1 species permits will only be issued if the applicant has met all requirements in T.C.A. 70-4-404 and T.C.A. 70-4-405 and has passed a Class 1 facility inspection.
  • No Class 4 species are allowed for possession including white-tailed deer, American black bear, and wild turkey except for bona fide zoos and TWRA-authorized wildlife rehabilitators.
  • Bona Fide Zoo is an institution operated wholly or in part by a political subdivision of the state to display wildlife to the public.
  • Any person possessing Class 1 or 2 wildlife species must have documentation indicating the animal originated from a legal source.
  • No importation permit for Class 1 or 2 species will be authorized until all information is supplied that the source is legal in the state of origin and does not possess a threat to human or animal health.
  • Please reference the classification list for those species considered Class 1, 2, or 4.

Rules and Regulations

Tennessee Code for Exotic Animals 

  • TCA-70-4-401 - Prohibited Acts
  • TCA-70-4-402 - Part Definitions
  • TCA-70-4-403 - Classifications of Wildlife
  • TCA-70-4-404 - Permits/Fees
  • TCA-70-4-405 - Housing & Transportation of Wildlife Requirements
  • TCA-70-4-406 - Liability for Escape-Limitation of State's Liability
  • TCA-70-4-407 - Transfer of Class I Wildlife--Notification
  • TCA-70-4-408 - Owners of Unpermitted Wildlife - Disposition of Such Wildlife
  • TCA-70-4-409 - Inspections
  • TCA-70-4-410 - Propagation of Class I or Class II Wildlife - Permit
  • TCA-70-4-411- Importation of Wildlife - Permits/Papers
  • TCA-70-4-412 - Release of Wildlife
  • TCA-70-4-413 - Private Wildlife Preserves- Hunting
  • TCA-70-4-414 - Raptors - Falconry Permit
  • TCA-70-4-415 - Authority of Officers of Agency- Violations, Penalties, & Forfeitures
  • TCA-70-4-416- Notification of Escape - Injuries
  • TCA-70-4-417 - Cost of Administration
  • TCA-70-4-418 - Implantations of Microchip in Class I Carnivores

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