Apply to research, observe and handle wildlife in the NWT

What do I need?

If you are researching, observing, and/or handling wildlife in the Northwest Territories (NWT) you need to have the proper permits and licences. This applies to everyone, including government agencies, and is intended to avoid harm to NWT natural, social and cultural environments.

Information about your work is shared with northern residents through the licensing process.

There are no fees for these permits.

What do I need to do?

  1. Fill out application(s) for the permit(s) you need

  2. Consult

    • What differentiates NWT processes from those in most Canadian jurisdictions is the inclusion of community consultation in most regulatory processes.

      Many of these processes also include provisions to make sure local communities are well informed of upcoming research projects, and the knowledge resulting from the studies returns to the local level.

    • Expect the consultation process to take at least 30 days

    • How do I consult?

  3. Submit your applications

    • Submit your applications by sending them to the appropriate ECC Regional Office. Make sure to include:
      • Completed wildlife research permit applications
      • Cover letter
      • Copies of all correspondence including signed recommendation forms
    • Note: If you are applying for a wildlife observation permit, or your study will be conducted in more than one region, please submit your completed applications to:

              Wildlife Management
              Department of Environment and Climate Change
              PO Box 1320
              Yellowknife, NT X1A 2L9
              Fax: 867-873-0293

Wildlife research permit

Who needs this permit?

You need this permit if you plan to do scientific research on wildlife, collect wildlife specimens, study wildlife or wildlife habitat in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

A permit is required to conduct a survey or census of wildlife or wildlife behaviour, administer drugs, collect or purchase specimens or carry out any scientific research relating to wildlife.

Research includes monitoring, experiments, surveys and/or any type of study done for the collection of for the collection of vertebrates or invertebrates, excluding fish (managed under federal legislation) and wildlife habitat-related information or data.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee for this permit.

Where can I get it?

Fill in the application form and submit completed recommendation forms, as required.

Wildlife observation permit

Who needs this permit?

You need this permit if you plan to film, interact with, manipulate or undertake close observation of big game species in the Northwest Territories as part of a for profit venture.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee for this permit.

Where can I get it?

Fill in the application form and submit completed recommendation forms, as required.

Wildlife handling approval

Who needs this approval?

If your research entails handling wildlife you must apply for approval from the Wildlfe Care Committee as well as applying for a Wildlife Research Permit.

How much does it cost?

There is no fee for this approval.

Where can I get it?

  1. Apply for a Wildlife Research Permit.
  2. Apply for Approval to Handle Wildlife.
  3. Apply for this permit through the Wildlife Care Committee.

Additional permits

  • Other wildlife permits may be required, depending on your planned activity.
  • The Department of Education, Culture and Employment can provide more information on additional permits to:
    • study fish, fisheries, traditional knowledge, bird banding, bird collection, contaminants, human health
    • undertake social research
    • Contact Parks Canada for any research being planned in a national park

How do I consult?

You must consult with:

  • ECC Regional Office
  • Regional renewable resource boards
  • Indigenous government and community-based contacts

As part of the consultation process, send a copy of your completed application form(s) and a blank Wildlife Research Permit Recommendation Form to the appropriate ECC Regional office, regional renewable resource boards and to contacts in communities closest to your study area. If in doubt, be inclusive. Please use mail or fax for non-government contacts. If your study may have impacts on other regions than your immediate study area, please be inclusive and contact organizations in the additional regions.

This includes hunting and trapping associations, renewable resource boards and councils. Request the approval of these organizations and submit evidence of the approvals with your applications.

Contact the Regional ECC Office in your study area if you encounter problems during the consultation process. If your study location is in more than one region, contact the Wildlife Division at for assistance.

How long will it take?

Expect the consultation process to take at least 30 days. Some organizations meet on a seasonal basis, which may not correspond to the timing of your wildlife research application(s). You can also expect delays in the spring. Identify the appropriate contact organizations based on your study location.

How do I provide information?

Use the application forms as a template. Provide all requested information to each contact organization with a covering letter describing your research plans in plain language.

Ask each contact to outline any concerns, suggestions or requirements for the proposed study in the recommendation form. Each contact should also be asked if they agree or disagree with the proposed study.

Contact information is available by region.

Contact organizations via email, fax or mail service.

Meet with communities

Personal presentation at community meetings are an important part of a community consultation plan. Record and consider all concerns, comments and suggestions provided at a meeting.

Recommendation form

Have the organization fill out and sign the recommendation form. Remember, meeting notes are not the same as recommendation forms. Recommendations forms confirm the appropriate contact organizations were consulted.

Follow-up reporting

A follow-up report is required once your activities are completed. Additional research permits will not be granted until ECC has received a report on activities and findings done under a previous permit.

Standard methods of animal care associated with information on wildlife handling