How to Get a Monkey License

By Alyssa Brode

Although monkeys have been incorporated for years into captivity, they are nonetheless wild animals. Considered exotic, these creatures are protected -- and regulated for the safety of their owners as well -- under local, state and federal laws such as the Animal Welfare Act. Whether you prefer a primate companion over a traditional pet or you intend to pursue the business of monkey breeding and dealing, adherence to proper jurisdiction is an absolute must when dealing with exotic animals of any type. Acquire the necessary licenses and permits that apply to the situation you have planned for yourself and your monkey.

Determine the particular species of monkey you would like to obtain. Identify the purpose for ownership of your monkey so that you may apply for licenses accordingly.

Apply for a captive-bred wildlife permit if the species is non-native, was bred in United States captivity and is endangered or threatened according to the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Seek such a license only if activities with your monkey will be used to forward the survival of the species, such as through certain health care practices or public education regarding the species. Contact the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Management Authority to receive an application. Submit a separate application for each species you wish to acquire for these purposes.

Obtain a license for commercial activities if you intend to breed, sell, exhibit or perform research with your monkey or monkeys. Contact the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services branch for an application. Prepare for an initial inspection prior to being granted a license, and expect random inspections to occur. Make arrangements for regular veterinarian visits or hire a full-time veterinarian if you will be breeding and dealing monkeys. Follow regulations regarding transportation of your monkey and insurance. Prove the legitimacy of the commercial use of your monkey if necessary.

Contact your state’s fish and game or wildlife department regarding exotic animal ownership in your state. Some states prohibit all private ownership of exotic animals while other states do not govern such possession and many others require licensing and permits. Ask the enforcement officer of either the wildlife or fish and game department -- named differently from state to state -- where to access the animal ordinance for the state. Read up on the jurisdiction that applies to your specific case depending on your intentions for your monkey.

Apply for an exotic pet license through your state’s wildlife or fish and game department if your state law requires it. Comply with the mandatory stipulations laid out by the state law. Find out if the state requires entry permits for your monkey. Contact your state’s health department to inquire about tests, vaccines or other measures that must be taken for legal entry into your state with your monkey.

Study laws in your county, city and community pertaining to ownership of exotic species as well and apply for necessary permits and licenses with the respective law office. These laws are often difficult to pinpoint, so be sure to get all information given to you in writing. Abide by local zoning restrictions pertaining to exotic animal ownership in order to get license approval. While your city may allow monkey possession, it may only be in designated agricultural areas, in certain habitats or any of a number of other regulations.