Owning an owl can be a unique and rewarding experience for anyone. But it is not as easy as you think. Wildlife laws protect owls from being captured or killed, which would result in their extinction.
So, can you legally own an owl? Yes, you can. However, you must obtain the necessary permits and licenses from the appropriate authorities, such as the USFWS. And to own a permit, the reasoning has to be for educational purposes, rehabilitation centers, research, or falconry.
Well, you have to know all the ins and outs of the permit and license to be able to apply for it. Here, we will talk about everything that will increase the chances of you being able to own an owl. Let’s get started!
Can You Legally Own an Owl?
Yes, but the law took charge to protect them. Hence, you can’t own an owl if you don’t have your own reasoning. So, if you just want to keep owls as your pet, the law won’t allow it.
Besides, owls have specific dietary needs, housing requirements, and behavioral characteristics that must be met for their well-being. So, you must show a valid reason to own an owl and prove that you have the necessary knowledge and facilities to care for an owl properly.
Then, you will get your permits and licenses and be able to own an owl.
Owl Ownership: What Types of Permits Do You Need?
There are two types of permits related to owl ownership: possession permits and educational permits.
Educational purposes and scientific research fall under educational permits, whereas falconry and rehabilitation centers fall under possession permits. Let’s dive into them.
The educational purposes permit is one of the easiest ones to get, yet most of us are not eligible. For example, you are a teacher and want to show your students different characteristics of an owl. Thus, you might need an owl with you and this is where educational purposes permit comes in.
You can apply for it if you can provide USFWS with proof that you will be requiring it for educational purposes. Furthermore, a safe enclosure that the federal wildlife agency approves is also a requirement for it.
Those who are interested in studying owls or want to collect new data about owls are welcome to take this permit.
It will require you to submit certain documentation, such as your identification and proof of address. Also, proof of your qualifications and experience in owl care and management.
If you own a rehabilitation center, you can apply for an owl ownership permit. This type of center is there for the injured owls who need human help to get well and are left in the wild again.
Since citizens are not allowed to possess an owl, they can take it to these centers for the betterment of the owls.
Falconry is one of the most common reasons for owning an owl in the United States. It is a regulated sport that involves training raptors, including owls, for hunting purposes.
Nevertheless, to become a licensed falconer, individuals must undergo a process that includes exams and facility inspections. Once licensed, falconers can legally possess and train owls for falconry purposes.
Here’s a video that will know more about falconry;
Step By Step Guide: How To Get A License To Own An Owl
Whether it be for educational purposes, research purposes, rehabilitation center purposes, or falconry, the licensing process is quite similar. The only thing different is the purpose and the exams you may need to attend. Let’s check out a step-by-step guide on that.
Step 1: Being Aware Of The Laws
Different states may have specific requirements and restrictions for owning owls. So it is essential to be aware of the legal aspects by contacting a local lawyer.
Step 2: Obtaining The Necessary Training
Depending on the purpose of owning an owl, certain training or education may be required. For example, individuals seeking a falconry license may need to undergo training under experienced falconers.
Similarly, those aiming for educational or research licenses may need to demonstrate relevant knowledge and expertise.
Step 3: Contact The Authorities
In the USA, there are two renowned authorities you can contact to apply for a license. One is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the other is the State Wildlife Agencies. So you can directly contact USFWS or go through a Wildlife agency which is located in every state.
Step 4: Fill out the Form
Obtain the necessary application forms from the relevant authorities and carefully complete them. This includes information about your intended use of the owl, as well as any supporting documentation that may be required. Once filled, simply submit the application.
Step 5: Meet The Requirements
Once you have submitted the form, you will be asked to meet specific requirements and conditions. This includes suitable housing facilities for the owl, and demonstrating knowledge of owl care and handling. You may even be asked to provide details of how the owl will be used in educational or research activities.
Step 6: Wait For Approval
Once you have submitted your form and met the requirements, it will go for approval. In the meantime, people from the respective authorities may come for an inspection. Once everything is checked and secured, you will get your license.
Punishment For Owning An Owl Illegally In The US
Let’s say you have got yourself hold of an owl and don’t feel like leaving it out in the wild or in rehabilitation centers. Well, since it is illegal to own an owl without a permit, there is quite a lot of trouble waiting for you.
Firstly, there is a fine in the form of punishment, which is between $1,000 to $50,000 per violation for individuals. However, if the act was done in an organization, the fine could go up to $500,000.
On the other hand, imprisonment is another punishment for illegally owning an owl. Individuals may also face imprisonment for up to 10 years. Overall, the exact amount of the fine and imprisonment can vary depending on the circumstances and jurisdiction.
Table: Legal Status of Owning Owls in Different Parts Of The World
Here’s a table that will help you understand the legal status of owning owls in different parts of the world;
|Permit required in most states
|Permits are required in all provinces and territories
|Requires a license from Natural England
|Permits required from local authorities
|Requires authorization from the Ministry of Ecology
|Permits required from the Ministry of the Environment
|United Arab Emirates
|Permits required from the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
|Requires a permit from state wildlife agencies
Let’s check out some commonly asked questions regarding owning an owl.
No, owning an owl or owl egg in the UK without a permit is illegal. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, taking or possessing any wild bird or its eggs without a license is illegal.
No, it is generally not legal to own an owl as a pet. However, if you are interested in Falconry, which is quite similar yet different from petting, you can apply for a Falconry license.
Yes, you have to be at least 18 years old to be able to apply for a USFWS license. With the license, you will be able to own owls.
To conclude, we hope you got your answer to how can you legally own an owl. In short, if you have proper reasoning and proof, you will be able to get a USFWS permit where owning owls is legal. Furthermore, you will have to take exams at USFWS, where you will have to prove you can handle an owl.
On the other hand, if you own an owl illegally, the consequences are quite dangerous. The fine starts from $1,000 and goes up to $50,000. Similarly, there is also a 10-year imprisonment.