Wildcats: licences for surveys and research

A licence may be required to examine wildcat dens, use cameras near dens, or conduct research that might disturb wildcats.

Basic wildcat surveys don’t require a licence, as long as they’re planned carefully and you:

  • minimise disturbance to wildcats
  • minimise examinations of wildcat structures that could be in use

Wildcat surveys generally involve walking through potential wildcat habitat to look for possible den sites and other signs of activity. Such surveys don’t require a licence as your actions wouldn’t constitute an offence against wildcats.

You should withdraw from the area immediately if you’re unlicensed and find signs that wildcats might be using a particular place.

You may require a licence if you plan to:

  • conduct more invasive or frequent examinations of dens or other wildcat structures
  • fit infrared cameras or camera traps near to possible den sites
  • photograph wildcats at or near the den, or while rearing or caring for their young
  • carry out scientific or research work that might disturb wildcats in dens or other structures, or involve catching or marking wildcats

Licences are only granted where there’s no satisfactory alternative. This is one of the three strict European protected species licensing tests that must be met.

How to apply

To apply for a licence for survey, scientific, research or education, email [email protected].

You should include:

If this is your first licence application for this activity, we’ll need two references from you. Your referees should be familiar with your work in this area and able to vouch for your competence.

Licence changes and renewals

You should get in touch if you wish to amend a licence. But check your licence conditions first: you may be able to appoint agents and assistants without having to get them named on your licence.

Find out about adding persons to a licence.

You must also remember to contact us to renew your licence. Licences aren’t renewed automatically.

Find out more

Accompanying notes for survey and monitoring licences

Data Protection notice


If you already have a licence number, include it in the subject line of your email, or have it to hand when you call.

Licensing Team

01463 725364

[email protected]

Last updated: