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Canadian Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Network - Réseau Canadien de Conservation des Amphibiens et des Reptiles

Legal Protection for Amphibians and Reptiles 
in British Columbia

This page contains information on the:


PLEASE Note the following throughout this document :

  1. A "..." means that part of the original legislation has been omitted in order to keep the focus on reptiles and amphibians. Only sections pertaining directly or indirectly to reptiles and amphibians have been included

  2. If you are interested in other wildlife, do not refer to this text as important sections have likely been omitted.

  3. Otherwise the legislation is the original text in order to prevent any possible complications due to a change of wording.

  4. Where a brief explanation was deemed necessary and anywhere else we added words that do not appear in the original Act the text has been italicized.

  5. Other areas have been bolded to highlight important words

  6. Blue words and numbers are links, click on them to visit the website or location they describe

_________________________________________

Wildlife Act
If you have any questions regarding this Act please contact:
Geoff Swannell
Wildlife Enforcement Officer
Tel.: (250) 387-9760

A full copy of this Act may be obtained by visiting: www.qp.gov.bc.ca/bcstats/96488_01.htm

For information on legislation which protects habitat for reptiles and amphibians please visit the web pages associated with the: British Columbia Forest Practices Code (BCFPC):

For Habitat guidelines under the BCFPC visit - www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb/legsregs/fpc/fpcguide/other/wild/index.htm and go to amphibians or reptiles.

For Identified species under the BCFPC visit - www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb.legsregs.fpc/fpcguide/other/species/index.htm and go to amphibians or reptiles

For Riparian Guidelines under the BCFPC visit
www.for.gov.bc.ca/tasb.legsregs.fpc/fpcguide/riparian/rip-toc.htm

For information on the current status of species which are being monitored in the Province, please visit the:
British Columbia Wildlife Inventory Conservation Data Centre web pages:

Go directly to amphibians: www.elp.gov.bc.ca/rib/wis/cdc/vertebrates.htm#amphibians

Go directly to reptiles: www.elp.gov.bc.ca/rib/wis/cdc/vertebrates.htm#reptiles

See the entire list: www.elp.gov.bc.ca/rib/wis.cdc/index.htm

Go to the Canadian Conservation Data Centre Home Page: www.heritage.tnc.org/nhp/canada/canmap.html

The following text is excerpts which pertain to reptiles and amphibians from the:

WILDLIFE ACT
[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 488
.

Sections included in this summary:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Definitions and Interpretation
2 Property in wildlife
3 Minister's powers
4 Power to designate wildlife management areas
5 Critical wildlife and wildlife sanctuaries
6 Endangered and threatened species
7 Damage to land set aside for wildlife
8 Right of Action
11 Hunting and firearm licences
17 Youth licences
22 Trafficking in wildlife
26 Hunting, trapping and firearm prohibitions
27 Use of conveyance
28 Dangerous hunting or trapping
29 Attempt to capture

33 Possession of wildlife
35 Retrieval of wildlife killed
36 Possession of carcass
37 Transportation of wildlife
38 Failure to provide information
39 Agricultural and cleared land
40 Power to prohibit hunting or trapping
71 Requirement to keep records
75 Accidental killing of wildlife
76 Escape, etc., of captive animal
77 Release or escape of animals
78 Dogs hunting game
79 Destruction of animals
80 Obstructing licensed persons
81 Documents not transferable

1. Definitions and interpretation
1. (1) In this Act:

"amphibian" means a vertebrate of the class Amphibia and includes the eggs and other developmental life stages;

"animal" means a mammal, reptile, amphibian or bird;

"bow" means a longbow or crossbow;

"carry" includes the storing of or having in possession of, in a boat, aircraft, motor vehicle, trailer or all terrain vehicle, even though the boat, aircraft, motor vehicle, trailer or all terrain vehicle is used as temporary living quarters;

"cold storage plant" means a facility where, for compensation or reward received or promised, wildlife or fish or parts of them are processed and stored, either fresh or frozen, for later consumption;

"conservation officer" means a conservation officer designated under the Environment Management Act and
includes a deputy conservation officer appointed under this Act;

"constable" includes a special constable and an officer, member and constable of the Provincial police force and of a municipal police department in British Columbia and a member of the RCMP;

"critical wildlife area" means land in a wildlife management area that is designated as a critical wildlife area;

"crossbow" means a bow fixed across a stock with a groove for the arrow or bolt and a mechanism for holding and releasing the string;

"Crown land" means land, whether or not it is covered by water, or an interest in land, vested in the government;

"director" means the director of the Wildlife Branch;

"domestic animal" means an animal that is prescribed as a domestic animal;

"endangered species" means a species of animal that is designated as an endangered species; Note: Currently there are no provincially endangered species of Reptiles or Amphibians in British Columbia. Several species are being monitored and some may be listed as endangered as early as this fall. For information on species which are being monitored visit the British Columbia Wildlife Inventory Conservation Data Centre web page. The address is listed at the top of this page. With this in mind, all references to endangered species have been left in this summary in the event that a species of reptile or amphibian is designated as such.

"firearm" includes a rifle, shotgun, handgun or spring gun and any device that propels a projectile by means of an explosion, compressed gas or spring but does not include a bow;

"habitat" or "wildlife habitat" means the air, soil, water, food and cover components of the environment on which wildlife depend directly or indirectly in order to carry out their life processes;

"harass" includes worry, exhaust, fatigue, annoy, plague, pester, tease or torment, but does not include the lawful
hunting, trapping or capturing of wildlife;

"hunt" includes shooting at, attracting, searching for, chasing, pursuing, following after or on the trail of, stalking or lying in wait for wildlife, or attempting to do any of those things, whether or not the wildlife is then or subsequently wounded, killed or captured,

(a) with intention to capture the wildlife, or
(b) while in possession of a firearm or other weapon;

"hunting licence" means a licence to hunt under section 11, but does not include a limited entry hunting authorization;

"Indian" means a person defined as an Indian by the Indian Act (Canada);

"longbow" includes a longbow, recurve bow and a compound bow;

"meatcutter" means a person who, for compensation or reward received or promised, processes wildlife or fish for
consumption;

"officer" means a person who is:
(a) a conservation officer or constable, the director, an assistant director, a regional manager of the fish & wildlife program of the ministry or a biologist or biological technician in the ministry, or
(b) an employee of the ministry designated by name or position as an officer;

"person", for the purpose of issuing a licence, limited entry hunting authorization or a registration of a trapline, means a natural person;

"regional manager" means a regional manager of the recreational fisheries and wildlife programs;

"reptile" means a vertebrate of the class Reptilia and its eggs;

"resident" means a person who makes his or her home in British Columbia and has been present in British Columbia for 6 months in the 12 months immediately before making an application under this Act or doing another thing relevant to the operation of this Act;

"stream" includes a section of a stream;

"tanner" means a person who, for compensation or reward received or promised, unhairs, fleshes, tans, plucks, dresses or dyes the pelts of wildlife or parts of the pelts;

"taxidermist" means a person who, for compensation or reward received or promised, prepares, preserves or mounts heads, skeletons, pelts or skins of wildlife or fish;

"threatened species" means a species of animal that is designated as a threatened species;

"traffic" means to buy, sell, trade or distribute for gain or consideration or to offer to do so;

"trap" includes a snare, net or other device, as defined by regulation, capable of being used in the taking or capturing of wildlife;

"wildlife" means … threatened species, endangered species … or other species of vertebrates prescribed as wildlife…

"wildlife management area" means land designated as a wildlife management area;

"wildlife sanctuary" means land in a wildlife management area designated as a wildlife sanctuary.

1(2) For the purposes of this Act,
(a) a person has anything in possession when the person has it in his or her personal possession or knowingly
(i) has it in the actual possession or custody of another person, or
(ii) has it in any place, whether or not that place belongs to or is occupied by him or her, for the use or benefit of himself or herself or of another person, and

(b) if one of 2 or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the rest, has anything in his or her custody or possession, it is deemed to be in the custody and possession of each and all of them.

2. Property in wildlife
(1) Ownership in all wildlife in British Columbia is vested in the government.

(2) A person does not acquire a right of property in any wildlife except in accordance with a permit or licence
issued under this Act … or as provided in subsection (3) of this section.

(3) A person who lawfully kills wildlife and complies with all applicable provisions of this Act and the regulations
acquires the right of property in that wildlife.

(4) If a person by accident or for the protection of life or property kills wildlife, that wildlife, despite subsection (3),
remains the property of the government.

(5) Despite anything in this Act, no right of action lies, and no right of compensation exists, against the government
for death, personal injury or property damage caused by
(a) wildlife, or
(b) an animal that escapes or is released from captivity or is abandoned in British Columbia.

4. Power to designate wildlife management areas
(4) Despite any other enactment, a person may not use land or resources in a wildlife management area without the written permission of the regional manager.

7. Damage to land set aside for wildlife
(1) A person commits an offence if the person
(a) alters, destroys or damages wildlife habitat, or
(b) deposits on land or water a substance or manufactured product or by product in a manner that is harmful to
(c) wildlife, or
(d) wildlife habitat

in a wildlife management area, except as authorized under section 4(4) or by the regulations or a permit.

(4) A regional manager may make orders prohibiting a person from
(a) entering,
(b) cutting, picking, removing, altering, destroying or damaging vegetation in,
(c) disturbing or harassing wildlife in,
(d) releasing or abandoning an animal in, and
(e) allowing an animal to enter

a wildlife management area, a critical wildlife area or a wildlife sanctuary.

(5) A person who contravenes an order made under subsection (4) commits an offence.

8. Right of action
The government has a right of action against a person who, without authority, destroys or damages wildlife habitat in a wildlife management area or an area set apart for wildlife management and may recover damages from the person for

(a) any money that the government spends to restore the habitat and its wildlife to its original state, or
(b) the loss of the habitat and its wildlife if restoration of the wildlife habitat is impossible.

11. Hunting and firearm licences
(1) A person commits an offence if the person hunts wildlife or carries a firearm unless:

(a) the person holds
(i) a hunting licence issued to him or her under this Act, if the person hunts,
(ii) any limited entry hunting authorization required by regulation, if the person hunts,
(iii) a firearm licence issued to him or her under this Act, if the person carries a firearm, and
(iv) any other licence required by regulation, if the person hunts or carries a firearm, or

(b) the person, if he or she is under 19 years of age, complies with subsection (5) and
(i) holds a hunting licence, or
(ii) his or her parent or guardian holds a hunting licence on his or her behalf.

(4) A person under 19 years of age commits an offence if the person carries a firearm unless the person is accompanied by and under the close personal supervision of a person who
(a) is 19 years of age or older, and
(b) holds, or is exempted from holding, a hunting licence or firearm licence.

(5) A person under 19 years of age commits an offence if the person hunts unless the person is accompanied by and
under the close personal supervision of a person who
(a) is 19 years of age or older, and
(b) holds, or is exempted from holding, a hunting licence.

(6) Despite subsections (1) and (4), a person may possess a firearm without a hunting licence or firearm licence in any of the following circumstances:
(a) aboard a boat used as his or her home;
(b) on property owned or occupied by the person or by his or her parent or guardian;
(c) while transporting a firearm as part of a move of household effects;
(d) if he or she is not a resident of British Columbia, while traveling in British Columbia in a motor vehicle
on a highway as defined in the Highway Act.

(9) Subsections (1) (a) (i), (iii) and (iv) … do not apply to an Indian residing in British Columbia.

17. Youth licences
(7) A person 19 years of age or older, who accompanies a person under 19 years of age while the younger person hunts or is in possession of a firearm, commits an offence if
(a) the younger person is required to possess a hunting licence and does not possess a hunting licence, or
(b) the older person fails to provide close personal supervision of the younger person.

(8) A parent or guardian commits an offence if he or she gives permission to his or her child or ward, who is under 19
years of age and with respect to whom the parent or guardian has given an undertaking under subsection (3), to
(a) hunt, or
(b) be in possession of a firearm

unless the child or ward is accompanied by and under the close personal supervision of a person who is 19 years of age or older and who holds a hunting licence or firearm licence.

(9) If a person kills wildlife and the person
(a) has not successfully completed the examinations referred to in subsection (1), and
(b) is under 14 years of age,

the wildlife must be included in the bag limit of the person who accompanies him or her under section 11 (5).

22. Trafficking in wildlife
A person who traffics in live wildlife or wildlife meat, except as authorized by regulation or a permit, commits an offence.

26. Hunting, trapping and firearm prohibitions
(1) A person commits an offence if the person hunts, takes, traps, wounds or kills wildlife:
(a) that is an endangered species or threatened species,
(b) in a wildlife sanctuary,
(d) with a firearm or a bow during the prohibited hours,
(e) by the use or with the aid of a light or illuminating device,
(f) with poison,
(g) with a set gun, or
(h) with a pump, repeating or auto loading shotgun unless the magazine contains a plug that is incapable of
removal except by disassembling the gun, and that makes the magazine incapable of holding more than 2
cartridges.

(2) Subsection (1) (c), (d), (e) and (h) does not apply to a person who hunts or traps wildlife that is on the person's
property and is a menace to a domestic animal or bird.

27. Use of conveyance
(1) A person who discharges a firearm or wounds or kills wildlife from a motor vehicle or from a boat that is propelled by a motor commits an offence.

(3) A person who herds or harasses wildlife with the use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or other mechanical device
commits an offence.

29. Attempt to capture wildlife
Except as authorized by this Act, the regulations or a permit, a person who attempts to capture wildlife commits an offence. This means that you are not allowed to catch 1 frog, toad, turtle etc. even for educational purposes unless authorized.

33. Possession of wildlife
(1) A person commits an offence if the person has live wildlife in his or her personal possession except as authorized under a licence or permit or as provided by regulation.

(2) A person commits an offence if the person has dead wildlife or a part of it in his or her possession except as authorized under a licence or permit or as provided by regulation.

35. Retrieval of wildlife killed
(2) A person commits an offence if the person hunts wildlife and kills or injures that wildlife and fails to make every reasonable effort to

(a) retrieve the wildlife, and if it is alive to kill it and include it in his or her bag limit …unless exempted by regulation.

36. Possession of carcass
(1) A person who possesses the carcass of any wildlife, whether or not the carcass has been divided, without leaving attached the parts required by regulation to be left attached, commits an offence.

(2) Subsection (1) only applies until the earlier of the following:
(a) the carcass is given to the owner or operator of a cold storage locker or meat cutting plant to be recorded in accordance with section 71,
(b) the carcass arrives at the person's normal dwelling place and is butchered and stored there for consumption on the premises, or
(c) the carcass is presented to an employee of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks or other person specified by the Lieutenant Governor in Council for inspection.

37. Transportation of wildlife
A person who ships or transports in British Columbia, or engages another person to ship or transport in British Columbia, wildlife or fish or parts of them, except as provided by regulation, commits an offence.

38. Failure to provide information
A person who fails, on the request of an officer, to state correctly the locality where and the date on which wildlife or fish in the person's possession was killed, taken or caught by the person or came into his or her possession, commits an offence.

71. Requirement to keep records
(1) A taxidermist, a tanner, a fur trader, a meatcutter or an operator of a cold storage plant commits an offence if
(a) he or she fails to keep, in the prescribed manner, a record of the receipt of wildlife or fish or a part of either, or
(b) having received wildlife or fish or a part of either, he or she fails to keep the record referred to in paragraph (a) for a period of 2 years from the time he or she gives up possession of the wildlife or fish or
a part of either.

(2) A taxidermist, a tanner, a fur trader, a meatcutter or an operator of a cold storage plant commits an offence if he or she fails
(a) to produce for inspection, on demand by an officer, all wildlife and records in his or her possession, or
(b) to make a full and complete return, as prescribed by regulation, of all wildlife that has been or is in his or
her possession for processing, manufacturing, curing, selling or trading.

75. Accidental killing of wildlife
A person commits an offence if the person
(a) kills or wounds wildlife, other than prescribed wildlife, by accident or for the protection of life or property, and
(b) does not report promptly to an officer the killing or wounding and the location of the wildlife.

76. Escape, etc., of captive animal
On the escape from captivity or the release or abandonment of an animal that is not a domestic animal, the government acquires the ownership of that animal.

77. Release or escape of animals
(1) A person who releases or abandons an animal or from whose captivity an animal escapes
(a) is … liable to the government for loss or damage to wildlife or
wildlife habitat caused by the animal, and for all costs incurred by the government in pursuing, recovering,
holding or destroying it, and
(b) is not entitled to any compensation from the government if the animal is destroyed under section 79.

(2) If a person releases or abandons an animal, other than a domestic animal, the person commits an offence.

(3) If an animal, other than a domestic animal, escapes from the possession of a person, the person commits an offence if he or she fails to make every reasonable effort to recover the animal.

(4) This section does not apply if the person is authorized by the regional manager to release the animal.

78. Dogs hunting game
A person commits an offence if the person causes or allows a dog to hunt or pursue
(a) wildlife or an endangered species or threatened species …

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Wildlife Regulations

The following text is excerpts which pertain to reptiles and amphibians from the:

Wildlife Act
DESIGNATION AND EXEMPTION REGULATION
[includes amendments up to B.C. Reg. 130/99]

Sections included in this summary:

From: Wildlife Act Designation and Exemption Regulation
1 Wildlife Prescribed
2 Exemption from sections 11, 17,(7)(b) and (8) and 26(1)(c) of the Act
3 Exemption from sections 11(8), 33, 37, 44 and 77(2) and (3) of the Act
8 Domestic animals under section 26(2) of the Act
9.1 Exemptions related to private property
10 Exemption from section 75 of the Act
11 Exemption from section 26(1)(c) of the Act
Schedule A: Wildlife
Schedule B: Certain vertebrates
Schedule C: Certain vertebrates

Wildlife Prescribed
1
The vertebrates listed in Schedule A are prescribed as wildlife for the purposes of the definition of "wildlife" in section 1 of the Wildlife Act.

Exemption from sections 11, 17 (7) (b) and (8) and 26 (1)(c) of the Act
2
(1) A person is exempted from sections 11, 17(7)(b) and (8) and 26(1)(c) of the Wildlife Act where wildlife listed in Schedule B or C is killed 
(b) by the person on property owned or occupied by that person or the spouse, parent, guardian, or child of that person.

Exemptions from sections 11 (8), 33, 37 … 77(2) and (3) of the Act
3
(1) A person is exempted from sections 11(8), 33, 37, 44 and 77(2) and (3) of the Wildlife Act and is authorized to use a trap, other than a leg-hold trap, for wildlife listed in Schedules B and C on land owned or occupied by the person, or with the permission of the owner or occupier of private land, where wildlife, transported and released on Crown land or on that person's private property, is possessed
for not more than 24 hours and is taken a distance no greater than 10 kilometres from where the animal was trapped unless a further distance is specified by an officer of the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply where the person releases the wildlife
(a) at a distance greater than one kilometre from the site of its capture in M.U. (Management Unit)
1-1 and 1-13 on Vancouver Island, or
(b) on an island in any body of water in the province, other than the island on which the wildlife was captured unless the person has prior approval of an officer

Domestic animals under section 26(2) of the Act
8
For the purposes of section 26(2) of the Wildlife Act the following are domestic animals
(h) an animal not defined as wildlife in the Wildlife Act or regulations, that is not native to or does not naturally occur within the province and is tame and kept in captivity for the use of man.

Exemptions related to private property
9.1
(1) If an owner or occupier of land hunts wildlife under the authority of section 26(2) of the Act, that person is exempt from section 11(1)(a) of the Act insofar as it requires a licence to carry a firearm or hunt wildlife.

Exemption from section 75 of Act
10
(1) A person is exempt from section 75 of the Wildlife Act where the person kills, by accident or for the
protection of life or property:
(a) an animal listed in Schedule B or C

(2) A person is exempt from section 75 of the Wildlife Act where the person accidentally kills or wounds one of the following:
(a) an animal of any of the species of reptiles;
(b) an animal of any species of amphibians.

Exemption from section 26(1) (c) of the Act
11
(1) A person is exempted from section 26(1) (c) of the Wildlife Act where wildlife listed in Schedule C is hunted, taken, trapped, wounded or killed.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply where the hunting, taking, trapping, wounding or killing of the animal occurs
(a) on private land without the permission of the landowner or occupier; or
(b) in a manner prohibited by law.

SCHEDULE A
WILDLIFE
1 Vertebrates of the following species: (For a description and picture of these species please visit our Amphibian Tour of Canada and our Reptile Tour of Canada

(a) all species of the genus Taricha - newts;
(b) all species of the family Ambysomatidae - mole salamanders;
(c) all species of the family Dicamptodontidae - Pacific mole salamanders;
(d) all species of the family Plethodontidae - lungless salamanders;
(e) all species of the genus Ascaphus - tailed frogs;
(f) all species of the family Plebotidae - spadefoot toads;
(g) all species of the genus Bufo - toads;
(h) all species of the family Hylidae - treefrogs;
(i) all species of the family Ranidae - true frogs;
(j) all species of the family Chelydriae - snapping turtles; (not native to British Columbia)
(k) all species of the family Emydidae - Emydid turtles; (such as the Painted Turtle)
(l) all species of the genus Phrynosoma - horned lizards;
(m) all species of the genus Eumeces - skinks;
(n) all species of the genus Gerrhonotus - alligator lizards;
(o) Charina bottae - rubber boa;
(p) Coluber mormon - western yellow-bellied racer;
(q) Contia tenuis - sharp-tailed snake;
(r) Hypsiglena torquata - night snake;
(s) Pituophis melanoleucus - gopher snake;
(t) Sonora semiannualata - ground snake; (not native to Canada. No information available.)
(u) all species of the genus Thamnophis - the garter snakes;
(v) all species of the family Viperidae - pit vipers;
(eee) all species of the family Trionychidae - soft-shelled turtles; (not native to British Columbia)

SCHEDULE B
1 Vertebrates of the following species:
(a) Taricha granulosa - rough-skinned newt;

SCHEDULE C
1 Vertebrates of the following species:
(a) Rana catesbeiana - American Bullfrog
(b) all species of the family Chelydridae - snapping turtles; (not native to British Columbia)

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Legal Protection For Amphibians and Reptiles in Other Provinces:

 

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