Wildlife in Captivity


two young raccoons in a tree

Wild animals are best left in the natural environment to which they are adapted. This is why the keeping of live native wildlife in captivity is generally not permitted in Ontario. Releases of animals into the wild are also generally not permitted as they may present risks to native species and ecosystems.


There are exceptions for specific purposes and activities (including scientific research, education programs and to support immediate hunting opportunities), which are regulated to minimize risks. Ontario’s rules protect native wildlife in many ways, including preventing the spread of disease, reducing the risk of released animals competing with native wildlife, discouraging illegal trade of native wildlife, and avoiding conflict between humans and wildlife which may threaten public safety.


If you find a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal, an authorized wildlife rehabilitator may be able to assist in its rehabilitation.



For more information on wildlife in captivity, please consult the links below, or your nearest Ministry of Natural Resources office.