Animal licensing

Zoo licence

A zoo is defined as an establishment where wild animals are kept for exhibition to the public. It applies where members of the public have access, with or without charge for admission, on more than 7 days in any period of 12 consecutive months.

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 aquariums. It does not apply to circuses or pet shops.

Apply for a licence

You must give us notice in writing of your intention to make the application at least 2 months before making an application for a zoo licence.

You can apply through GOV.UK. Options include:

Certain conditions apply, such as publishing a notice of your intention.


For details of current fees, go to our animal licensing fees page.


For government guidance on the law for zoo licensing, go to GOV.UK: Zoo licensing act 1981 – guide to the act's provisions.

Check a licence

You can check online whether a zoo is licensed in Thurrock.

Search licensing records

Making a complaint

Contact us if you have reason to complain about a zoo that we licence. You should tell us:

  • your name and phone number
  • details of the premises you wish to complain about
  • details of your complaint or problem

All complaints are dealt with in the strictest confidence. Your details will not be released but are required for us to contact you for further information.

Licensing team
Thurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL.