Legal Protection for Amphibians and Reptiles
in Nova Scotia
This page contains information on the:
PLEASE Note the following throughout this document :
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
If you are interested in other wildlife, do not
refer to this text as important sections have likely been omitted.
Otherwise the legislation is the original text in
order to prevent any possible complications due to a change of
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.
Other areas have been bolded to highlight
Blue words and numbers are links, click on them to
visit the website or location they describe
Acts and regulations available online at: www.gov.ns.ca/legi/legc
The following is text and excerpts
BILL NO. 65
47 Elizabeth II, 1998
ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
Chapter 11 of the Acts of 1998
The Honourable Kenneth MacAskill
Minister of Natural Resources
Third Reading: December 3, 1998
(WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENTS)
Royal Assent: December 3, 1998
4(1) This Act binds her Majesty in right of the
Province, Her Majesty’s corporations, agents, administrators,
servants and employees and Government agencies
(2) This Act binds her Majesty in right of Canada, Her
Majesty’s corporations, agents, administrators, servants and
employees and Government agencies
5 Where there is conflict or inconsistency between
this Act and the regulations mad pursuant to this Act, and any other
enactment or a municipal by-law, regulation or authorization, this Act
and the regulations prevail.
13(1) No person shall
kill, injure, possess, disturb, take or
interfere with or attempt to kill, injure, possess, disturb,
take or interfere with an endangered or threatened species or
any part or product thereof;
possess for sale, offer for sale, sell, buy,
trade or barter an endangered or threatened species or any part
or product thereof;
destroy, disturb or interfere with or attempt to
destroy, disturb or interfere with the specific dwelling place
or area occupied or habitually occupied by one or more
individuals or populations of an endangered or threatened
species, including the nest, nest shelter, hibernaculum or den
of an endangered or threatened species;
Species at Risk in Nova Scotia
Wildlife Species Protected Under the Endangered Species Act in Nova
Blanding's Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)
Endangered - June 2000
Three small disjunct populations of Blandings Turtle are found in
central southwest Nova Scotia comprising around two hundred adult
animals in total. These turtles are genetically distinct with
behavioural and physical differences that distinguish them from
Blanding's Turtles in Ontario and the United States. Predators like
the raccoon and human alteration of lake shores (water level) used for
nesting are the major threats to this species in Nova Scotia.
Wood Turtle (Clemmys insculpta) Vulnerable
- June 2000
There may be 2,500 Wood Turtles widely dispersed across river habitats
in Nova Scotia, but information suggests that this species is
declining. Like other turtles, this species is of concern because even
low mortality rates of adults can have serious population impacts.
Threats to wood turtles in Nova Scotia include alteration and
destruction of river and stream habitats and translocations of turtles
The following is text and excerpts from:
Wildlife Act: CHAPTER 504 OF THE REVISED STATUTES,
amended 1990, c. 50; 1993, c. 9, s.8; 1995-96, c. 8,
1995-96, c. 25
An Act to Provide for the Protection, Management and Conservation
of Wildlife and Wildlife Habitats
1 Short title
This Act may be cited as the Wildlife Act..
2 Object and purpose
The object and purpose of this Act is to
- develop and implement policies and programs for wildlife
designed to maintain diversity of species at levels of abundance
to meet management objectives;
- integrate appropriate protective measures into policies for use
on Crown lands and in guidelines for forest management and other
programs on privately owned land to ensure adequate habitat for
established populations of wildlife;
- provide for the regulation of hunting and…the
possession and sale of wildlife; and
- provide for the continuing renewal of the resource while
managing for its optimum recreational and economic uses.
(1) In this Act,
- "bag limit" means the total number of a species
that may be taken by a hunter, trapper or fisherman per day per
season or for any time period specified in the regulations;
- "closed season" means a period other than the open
season for the hunting … of a species of wildlife
during which that species is protected by this Act or the
- "conservation" means the wise use of the resource
through management, including both complete protection and
utilization, toward the maintenance of sustained, optimum
populations of wildlife;
- "conservation officer" means any person designated
a conservation officer pursuant to this Act or the Forests Act;
- "Crown lands" means land, whether or not it is
covered by water, or an interest in land vested in Her Majesty in
right of the Province;
means the Department of Lands and Forests;
- "Director of Wildlife" means a person appointed to
the position of Director of Wildlife in the Department;
- "endangered species" means wildlife of a kind
prescribed as such pursuant to this Act or the regulations;
- "exotic wildlife" means…
vertebrates that are not indigenous to the Province and that in
their natural habitat are usually wild by nature, and includes any
part of such … vertebrates;
- "firearm" means any barreled weapon from which any
shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged and that is capable
of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person, and includes
any frame or receiver of such a barreled weapon and anything that
can be adapted for use as a firearm;
(ac) "highway" means a public highway, street,
lane, road, alley, park or place and includes the bridges
(ad) "hunting" means chasing, driving, flushing,
attracting, pursuing, worrying, following after or on the trail of,
searching for, trapping, attempting to trap, snaring or attempting to
snare, shooting at, stalking or lying in wait for any wildlife whether
or not the wildlife is then or subsequently captured, killed, taken or
wounded, but does not includes talking, attracting, searching for or
lying in wait for any wildlife by an unarmed person solely for the
purpose of watching or taking pictures of it;
(ae) "license" or "permit" means
an instrument issued pursuant to this Act or the regulations
conferring upon the holder the privilege of doing the things set forth
in it subject to the conditions, limitations and restrictions
contained in it and in this Act and the regulations;
(af) "Minister" means the Minister of Lands and
(ag) "non-resident" means any person who is not a
(ah) "open season" means a period specified by the
regulations during which time certain wildlife may be taken;
(ai) "pelt" means the untanned skin of any
(aj) "possession limit" means the maximum number
of a wildlife species that may be possessed by a hunter, trapper …
for any time period specified in the regulations;
(ak) "prescribed" means prescribed by regulation;
(al) "protected", as applied to wildlife, means
protected throughout the year or for any open or closed season,
pursuant to this Act or the regulations;
(am) "resident", at any time, means a person
permanently or ordinarily resident in the Province for the two months
immediately preceding that time, and includes
(iii) a person born in the Province and the owner of real property
in the Province;
(ap) "snare" means a device for the taking of
wildlife whereby they are caught in a noose;
(aq) "snaring" means the placing of one or more
snares in locations where wildlife are likely to be caught in a noose;
(ar) "tag" means the instrument issued pursuant to
this Act or the regulations and forms part of the license or permit
under which it was issued;
(as) "take", when used in relation to wildlife,
includes the capturing or taking into possession of wildlife whether
dead or alive;
(at) "taxidermist" means any person who engages in
the business of the preservation or mounting of wildlife or parts
thereof or their eggs;
(au) "threatened species" means wildlife of a kind
prescribed as such pursuant to this Act or the regulations;
(av) "trap" means a snare, spring trap, deadfall,
box trap, net or device used to capture wildlife;
(aw) "trapping" means the placing of one or more
traps in locations where wildlife may be trapped;
(ax) "vehicle" means any vehicle propelled or
driven otherwise than by muscular power, whether or not the vehicle is
registered pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Act, and includes an
(az) "vessel" means a means of conveyance of a
kind used on water and includes any accessory to the vessel;
(ba) "wildlife" means any species of vertebrate
which is wild by nature and hence not normally dependent on man to
directly provide its food, shelter or water;
(NOTE: For our purposes anywhere you see "wildlife",
or a similar phrase, it may be interpreted to mean a reptile(s) and/or
- "wildlife habitat" means any water or land where
wildlife may be found and the roads and highways thereon;
(bc) "wildlife management" means any purposeful
intervention designed to preserve, protect, control, maintain or
enhance wildlife populations or wildlife habitats;
(2) For the purpose of this Act,
(a) a person is in possession of a thing when it is in that persons personal
possession or when that person 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
that person, for the use or benefit of that person or of another person;
(b) when one of two or more persons, with the knowledge and consent of the
rest has anything in that persons custody or possession, it is in the possession
of each of them.
4 Ownership of wildlife
(1) Subject to subsection (2), the property in all wildlife situated within the
Province, while in a state of nature, is hereby declared to be vested in Her
Majesty in right of the Province and no person shall acquire any right or
property therein otherwise than in accordance with this Act and the regulations.
Property right of individual
(2) A person who lawfully kills wildlife and complies with all applicable
provisions of this Act and the regulations acquires the right of property in
No action against Province
(3) Notwithstanding anything in this Act, no right of action lies and no right
of compensation exists against Her Majesty in right of the Province for death,
personal injury or property damage caused by a wildlife, or any wildlife that
escapes or is released from captivity or is abandoned within the Province.
20 Export for scientific or educational purposes
(1) The Minister may grant a permit to any person or the government of any
province or state to secure and export, for propagation or for scientific,
educational or other purpose that the Minister deems to be in the public
(a) a specified number of any species of wildlife;
and the Minister may specify the time, place and method of taking such
Statement to Department
(2) A detailed statement of the wildlife secured pursuant to subsection (1)
shall be returned to the Department as required by the permit.
26 Requirement for license
Except as provided by this Act or the regulations or any other enactment, no
person shall hunt …or pursue with the intent to hunt … any wildlife without
a valid license or permit issued pursuant to this Act or the regulations.
Terms and conditions
(3) The rights attached to any licence or permit are subject to the terms and
conditions as provided in this Act and the regulations or as may be endorsed by
the Minister on the licence or permit.
(5) No person shall contravene the terms and conditions of a licence or permit.
34(3) Replacement licence or tag for diseased wildlife
Notwithstanding subsection (1), any person who lawfully kills wildlife
subsequently found to be diseased shall report that fact to a conservation
officer and the Minister, when satisfied that the wildlife is diseased, may
issue a replacement licence, permit or tag and direct how to dispose of the
38 Disturbance of wildlife
(2) No person shall disturb, or engage in an activity that will tend to disturb,
wildlife with the intention of preventing or impeding its being lawfully hunted…
(2) Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, no person shall
(a) take, hunt or kill or attempt to take, hunt or kill any wildlife except
during the open season for that species of wildlife; or
(b) exceed the bag limit or possession limit for that species.
41 Dog running at large in wildlife habitat: Prohibition
(5) The owner of a dog shall not allow the dog to run at large in a wildlife
42 Hunting with a dog
Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, no person shall take, hunt or
kill or pursue with intent to take, hunt or kill any wildlife with a dog.
49 Game-farming licence
(1) The Minister may issue a game-farming licence authorizing a person to keep
in captivity on premises defined in the licence any wildlife for any and all
purposes of sale, barter, exchange, preservation, consumption and propagation.
50 Protected wildlife
(1) Except with a permit issued by the Minister, no person shall take, hunt or
kill or attempt to take, hunt or kill or possess any
(g) wildlife declared by regulation to be protected wildlife pursuant to this
Purchase or sale
(2) Except with a permit issued by the Minister, no person shall buy, barter,
offer for sale or sell protected wildlife whether dead or alive or any part
Except with a permit issued by the Minister, no person shall
(a) destroy, take, possess, buy or sell any egg of a …turtle or disturb the
nest of a …turtle;
59 Prohibition unless licensed
(2) No person shall engage in the business of a taxidermist unless licensed
pursuant to this Act and the regulations.
60 Restriction on taxidermist
(1) No taxidermist shall receive or accept wildlife for preservation or
mounting unless the specimens are accompanied by a statement in writing signed
by the owner giving the date on which such specimens were taken, the
circumstances in which they were obtained and the full name and address of the
61 Preservation of carcass
No person, having taken or killed any wildlife, shall allow the carcass or pelt
thereof to be destroyed, wasted, abandoned or spoiled except as provided in this
Act or the regulations.
62 Wildlife kept in captivity
(1) Except as provided in this Act or the regulations or any other enactment, no
person shall keep in captivity for the purpose of sale, barter, exchange,
preservation, consumption or propagation any wildlife or exotic wildlife.
Permits respecting wildlife
(2) The Minister may issue a permit authorizing a person to capture or obtain
wildlife and to keep the same in captivity, to take or kill wildlife for
preservation as specimens of natural history or for scientific purposes, to
export out of the Province any wildlife held in captivity or to release wildlife
held in captivity.
Release of wildlife
(3) Every person who, without a permit issued pursuant to subsection (2),
releases from captivity any wildlife or exotic wildlife is guilty of an offence.
63 Export of wildlife
(1) Every person commits an offence who exports or attempts to export out of the
Province any live wildlife or the … pelt or carcass or any part thereof except
where that person is the holder of an export permit issued pursuant to this Act
or the regulations.
Export by non-resident
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the holder of a valid non-resident licence
issued pursuant to this Act or the regulations may export from the Province any
wildlife lawfully taken by that person.
Export by common carrier
(3) Every common carrier who transports out of the Province any live wildlife or
the… pelt or carcass or any part thereof of wildlife, except as authorized to
be exported by this Act or the regulations, is guilty of an offence.
64 Importing of wildlife
(1) Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, no person shall import
into the Province any live wildlife or exotic wildlife or any part thereof
except where the person is the holder of an import permit issued pursuant to
this Act or the regulations.
Importing of dead wildlife
(2) Nothing in this Act prevents the importing of dead wildlife into the
Province or the possession in the Province of wildlife taken outside of the
Province if the wildlife has been legally taken.
65 Sale or purchase of carcass
Except as provided in an enactment, every person commits an offence who at
any time offers or exposes for sale, purchases or offers to purchase the carcass
of wildlife or any part thereof.
66 Possession of …pelt
(2) Every person who possesses the… pelt or carcass or any part thereof of
wildlife during the closed season for that wildlife, in contravention of the
regulations made pursuant to subsection (1), is guilty of an offence.
67 Hunting with poisons, drugs or explosives
(1) Except with the permission of the Minister, no person shall take, hunt or
kill or attempt to take, hunt or
kill any wildlife by means of a poison, drug, explosive, deleterious substance
electrical charge in any place where wildlife is or may be found.
68 Hunting with light
Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, every person is guilty of an
offence who takes, hunts or kills or pursues with intent to take, hunt or kill
wildlife by means of, or with the assistance of, a light or flambeau.
69 Shining light in wildlife habitat
(1) Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, no person shall shine a
light having a voltage of more than four and one-half volts in or upon any
wildlife habitat not owned by that person at times when hunting is not permitted
(i.e. during the night).
Prima facie evidence of voltage
(2) For the purpose of subsection (1), it is prima facie evidence that the light
or lights of a vehicle are more
than four and one-half volts when the source of energy or energy for such light
or lights is the electrical
system of the vehicle.
70 Use of vehicle or vessel to hunt or chase wildlife
(1) Except as provided in an enactment, no person shall use any air, land or
water vehicle or vessel to chase, pursue, worry, molest, take, hunt or kill any
wildlife or willfully destroy wildlife habitat.
71 Hunting on Sunday
(1) Except as provided in this Act or the regulations, no person shall take,
hunt or kill or pursue with intent to take, hunt or kill, any wildlife, or carry
any firearm or bow in any place frequented by wildlife on the
first day of the week commonly known as Sunday.
Exception for trapping or snaring
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), the holder of a valid licence or permit may
set or visit any trap or snare and remove any wildlife caught therein and
relocate the trap or snare.
72 Hunting on highway
(1) Except as provided by the regulations, no person shall take, hunt or kill or
attempt to take, hunt or kill any wildlife while such wildlife is within the
boundaries of any common or public highway or within one hundred feet of such
Back to Top
The following is text and excerpts from:
General Wildlife Regulations
made under Section 113 of the Wildlife Act
R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 504 O.I.C. 87-1181 (September
29, 1987), N.S. Reg. 205/87
as amended up to O.I.C. 2000-216 (April 26, 2000), N.S. Reg. 64/2000
These regulations may be cited as the "General Wildlife
- "Act" means the Wildlife Act;
- "base license" means a license consisting of a license
card issued by the Department and a current wildlife habitat stamp;
- "Captive Wildlife Permit" means a permit issued pursuant
to these regulations authorizing the holder thereof to keep wildlife in
- "Department" means the Department of Natural Resources;
- "Minister" means the Minister of Natural Resources;
- "wildlife habitat stamp" means a stamp issued by the
Department that, when completed in accordance with the Act and affixed to a license
card, constitutes a base license.
3 Other harvestable wildlife
- For purposes of referring to the wildlife described in subsections (2) and
(3) in these and other regulations made pursuant to the Act, such wildlife may
be identified as "other harvestable wildlife".
(Note: For our purposes the term "other harvestable wildlife"
will henceforth mean Snapping Turtle and Bullfrog.)
- The following other harvestable wildlife may be hunted in accordance with
these regulations at the following times of the year:
Species and the Open Season
(d) snapping turtle July 15 to September 30
(e) bullfrog July 15 to September 30
- Except as otherwise provided in the Act or regulations made pursuant to
the Act, it shall be an offence for any person to hunt other harvestable
wildlife other than as prescribed in this Section.
- No person shall hunt other harvestable wildlife unless the person is the
holder of a valid base license.
7. Any person 18 years of age or over may hunt
wildlife in accordance
with these regulations with a firearm or
bow provided the person
is the holder of a valid Firearm Hunting
Certificate or Bowhunter
- Any person who is not less than 12 years of age or more than 17 years of
age may hunt other harvestable wildlife in accordance with these regulations with a firearm or bow provided
- the person possesses a valid Firearm Hunting Certificate or Bowhunter
Hunting Certificate issued to the person;
- the person possesses a minor's permit issued to the person
pursuant to the Criminal Code if hunting is done with a firearm;
- the person is under the immediate supervision of a parent or guardian or
any other responsible person 18 years of age or over who possesses a valid
Firearm Hunting Certificate if the hunting is done with a firearm or a
valid Bowhunter Hunting Certificate if the hunting is done with a bow; and
5 Nuisance control
(5) The Minister may issue a special permit to a person
(a) to capture or kill any wildlife that is wounded, diseased, a danger to
the public or a public nuisance;
(6) Where …harvestable wildlife are a nuisance, they may be
captured in a box trap without a permit…
6 Captive wildlife
- Unless determined otherwise by the Director of Wildlife, no person shall
hold in captivity any wildlife, native or exotic, unless the person
- a permit or licence issued pursuant to subsection 16(3) of the Act
(Private Wildlife Park Licence/ Permit); or
- a Game Farming Licence issued pursuant to Section 49 of the
- a Scientific or Educational Permit issued pursuant to Section 20 of the
(d) a Captive Wildlife Permit issued pursuant to these regulations;
(2) The Director of Wildlife may issue a Captive Wildlife Permit.
(2A) The Director of Wildlife may determine wildlife species for which no
import permit is required.
- (a) Except as provided in a Captive Wildlife Permit, no person holding
wildlife in captivity shall allow the wildlife to roam free, escape or be
released to the wild.
(b) A person whose wildlife escapes from captivity shall immediately make
all reasonable efforts to return the wildlife to captivity and report the
full details of the escape to a conservation officer within 48 hours of the
(c) Any wildlife not recovered within 15 days after its escape shall become
the property of Her Majesty the Queen in Right of the Province.
- No person shall hold in captivity any wildlife known or believed to be
diseased or allow the wildlife to be transferred to another person.
- (a) No person shall hold wildlife in captivity unless the wildlife is kept
in a suitable enclosure approved by the Director of Wildlife.
(b) No person shall tether wildlife in any manner.
(c) No person shall hold wildlife in captivity unless the enclosure consists
of an outside run and a shelter.
10. A person holding wildlife in captivity shall in such manner as the
Director of Wildlife may direct
- keep a fresh and adequate supply of water available at all times;
- provide nutritive, uncontaminated and adequate food supply at
least once daily;
- keep the enclosure sanitary and clean; and
- keep the wildlife in a humane manner.
7 Export/import of wildlife
(1) For the purpose of Sections 63 and 64 of the Act, and subject to
- the Minister may issue a Wildlife Export Permit to any person
authorizing that person to export out of the Province any live or dead
wildlife, or any part thereof, lawfully taken;
- the Wildlife Export Permit shall contain a list of the
wildlife or wildlife parts to be exported along with the name and address
of the person or firm to whom it is being exported;
- a valid license issued under the Act and regulations which has marked on
it that it is an Export Permit constitutes authority for the holder of the
license to export out of the Province, within the prescribed bag and
possession limits, wildlife taken under the license;
- wildlife or parts being exported shall be accompanied by the export
- the Minister may issue a Wildlife Import Permit to any person
authorizing that person to import into the Province any live or exotic
wildlife or any part thereof lawfully taken.
- It shall be an offence for any person to contravene any term or condition
contained in a permit issued under the Act or these regulations.
8 Transporting wildlife
(1) No agent, transportation company or other common carrier or any other
- receive for shipment any wildlife or parts of wildlife excluding the meat
unless the shipment is tagged, marked or labeled with the name and address
of the owner, the license number under which the wildlife was taken and the
contents of the shipment; or
(2) Any person who receives a shipment in violation of subsection (1) shall
notify the nearest district office of the Department and hold the shipment to be
dealt with by the Department.
- transport or deliver to a consignor any shipment that is not tagged,
marked or labeled in the manner required by clause (a).
9 Sale or purchase of wildlife
(1) Subject to the provisions of the Act and any regulation made pursuant
thereto, any person may sell, expose for sale, offer for sale, process for sale,
possess for sale, trade, barter or purchase any wildlife or parts thereof taken
in accordance with the Act and regulations, provided that:
(a.) no person shall sell, expose for sale, offer for sale, process for sale,
possess for sale, trade or barter the meat of …bullfrogs,
snapping turtles …unless permitted by regulation or license;
(2) The proprietor or manager of any hotel, inn, restaurant or boarding house
may prepare and serve wildlife and have possession of the same if the wildlife
is prepared for a registered guest who took it under a valid license.
(a) chasing or pursuing any wildlife;
- Unless authorized by the Minister, no person shall use a vehicle or vessel
for the purpose of
(b) disturbing any wildlife; or
(c) driving any wildlife towards hunters.
11 Hours of hunting
- Except by permit … no person shall discharge a firearm or bow
between one-half hour after sunset and one-half hour before sunrise.
- Unless provided otherwise, for the purpose of the Act and regulations,
"night" is defined as the period of time between one hour after
sunset and one hour before sunrise ….
12 Accidental killing
- Any person who by accident unlawfully kills any wildlife shall within
twenty-four hours report the killing to a conservation officer at the nearest
district office of the Department.
… subsection (1) does not apply to wildlife accidentally killed
by a vehicle or vessel.
3. a. The Minister may issue a Salvage Permit to any person to possess
wildlife accidentally killed or wildlife killed with the authority of the Department.
- A Salvage Permit issued pursuant to clause (a) authorizes the holder
thereof to possess or dispose of the wildlife killed.
14 Hunting while disqualified and other hunting restrictions
- Where a person who holds a valid licence takes the seasonal bag limit of
wildlife covered by the licence, the licence is thereafter invalid for any
further hunting of that specie of wildlife.
- a. Unless otherwise provided by the Act or these regulations, after a
person who holds a valid licence kills the seasonal bag limit of wildlife
covered by the licence, that person shall not thereafter carry or possess a
firearm or bow in a wildlife habitat.
- Clause (a) does not apply to a person who is transporting wildlife
killed under the licence back to the person's place of residence or place
- In addition to those items prohibited by Section 81 of the Act and Section
3 of the Firearm and Bow Regulations, no person shall use or possess for the
purpose of hunting wildlife at any time in a wildlife habitat
(a) hooks capable of holding wildlife including fish hooks;
Back to Top
Legal Protection For Amphibians and Reptiles in