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Zoo licensing has been devolved to the Welsh Government.

A zoo is defined in the Zoo Licensing Act as being 'an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition'.

The wide scope of this definition means that licensed zoos range from traditional urban zoos and safari parks to small specialist collections such as butterfly houses and aquaria. The Act recognises this wide range of establishments by allowing dispensations to be granted for small zoos. The Act does not extend to circuses, or to pet shops, both of which are covered by other legislation.

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981

The Zoo Licensing Act 1981 (external link) came into force in 1984. The Act requires the inspection and licensing of all zoos in Great Britain. It aims to ensure that where animals are kept in enclosures, they are provided with a suitable environment to express most normal behaviour. 

Useful external links

Guidance for Local Authorities

Guidance for Zoo Keepers