Full Statute Name:  Maine Revised Statutes Annotated, Title 12. Conservation, Part 13. Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Subpart 4. Fish and Wildlife Chapter 915. Hunting: Seasons, Requirements and Restrictions. Subchapter 15. Wildlife Importation and Possession, Permits and Requirements,

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Primary Citation:  12 M. R. S. A. § 12151 - 12161 Country of Origin:  United States Last Checked:  April, 2018 Alternate Citation:  ME ST T. 12 § 12151 - 12161 Date Adopted:  2004
Summary:

These Maine statutes prohibit keeping wildlife in captivity, importing, breeding or releasing wildlife into the wild, with exceptions for a person holding a license. Taking reptiles, amphibians, and certain nonmarine invertebrates from the wild is also prohibited without a license. Provisions for the disposition of wolf hybrids are included. Penalties for violations incur fines that range from $100 to $500. Three or more such violations are considered to be a Class E criminal offense.

Statute Text: 

[See also Chapter 7. Regulations for Wildlife in Captivity. Part I. General Provisions, 09-137 CMR Ch. 7, § 7.00 - 7.18]

 

§ 12151 . Keeping wildlife in captivity

§ 12152 . Permit to possess wildlife in captivity

§ 12153 . Repealed. Laws 2015, c. 301, § 28, eff. Oct. 15, 2015

§ 12154 . Department breeding or rearing wild birds

§ 12155 . Repealed. Laws 2015, c. 374, § 11, eff. Oct. 15, 2015

§ 12156 . Release of wildlife into wild

§ 12157 . Permit to transport wildlife for breeding and advertising

§ 12158 . Importation permit for pheasants - § 12158. Repealed. Laws 2017, c. 205, § 21, eff. Nov. 1, 2017

§ 12159 . Taking reptiles and amphibians from the wild

§ 12160 . Disposition of wolf hybrids

§ 12161 . Taking of certain nonmarine invertebrates from the wild for commercial purposes

 

§ 12151. Keeping wildlife in captivity

1. Prohibition. A person may not keep wildlife in captivity except as provided under section 10105, subsection 10, sections 12102, 12152 and 12157 and Title 7, section 1809 or except if the wild animal was purchased from a dealer or pet shop licensed under Title 7, section 3933.

2. Penalties. Except as provided in section 12152, subsection 7, the following penalties apply to violations of this section.

A. A person who violates subsection 1 commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $500 may be adjudged.

B. A person who violates subsection 1 after having been adjudicated as having committed 3 or more civil violations under this Part within the previous 5-year period commits a Class E crime.

C. The department may seize fish or wildlife in accordance with sections 10502 and 10503 from a person who violates subsection 1.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, § B-200, eff. Aug. 31, 2004; 2015, c. 374, §§ 2 to 4, eff. Oct. 15, 2015; 2017, c. 205, § 13, eff. Nov. 1, 2017; 2017, c. 285, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.


§ 12152. Permit to possess wildlife in captivity

1. Repealed. Laws 2003, c. 655, § B-201, eff. Aug. 31, 2004.

1-A. Permit required. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, a person may not import wildlife into or possess wildlife in the State or receive or possess wildlife imported into the State. The department shall maintain a list of unregulated fish and wildlife species for which a permit under this section is not required that is available to the public. Each day a person violates this subsection that person commits a Class E crime for which a minimum fine of $50 and an amount equal to twice the applicable permit fee must be imposed. The commissioner may grant a permit to introduce, import, transport, receive or possess fish or gametes in accordance with the provisions of section 12509.

1-B. Exemption. Notwithstanding subsection 1-A, a reptile, amphibian or invertebrate that is native to the State and not listed by the department as threatened, endangered or of special concern may be captured from the wild in the State and possessed without a permit. Possession limits for each species are as follows:

A. Amphibians, up to 5 specimens of each species;

B. Reptiles, up to 2 specimens of each species; and

C. Invertebrates, no specimen limits.

Animals captured under this subsection must be kept in a manner that does not permit contact between those animals and any other animal that is not naturally present in the wild in this State. If an animal captured under this subsection is released back into the wild, the animal must be released in or near the same location where the animal was captured. Importation into the State of a reptile, amphibian or invertebrate exempted under this subsection is prohibited without a permit. Exhibition, propagation or export or sale for commercial purposes is prohibited without a permit. A person may not export, sell or otherwise use for commercial purposes any animal captured under this subsection unless the person holds an applicable permit for that use.

2. Affected species. Except as otherwise provided in this Part, this section applies to the possession of any wildlife regulated by the State that is held in captivity and to the importation of wildlife from an area outside the State, including:

A. All species listed under state law as threatened or endangered;

B. All species other than those listed in paragraph A not included on a list of unregulated, nonnative species that is maintained by the commissioner to facilitate the issuance of importation permits; and

C. Species identified in rules adopted by the commissioner.

The commissioner may adopt rules that classify wildlife into categories as described in subsection 3-D for purposes of determining applicable fees under this section. The rules must, at a minimum, include the list of unrestricted, nonnative species as provided in paragraph B, a category of wildlife that is endangered or threatened or presents a risk to humans, a category of wildlife that requires special housing or care and a category of prohibited species for which a permit is not issued under any circumstances.

3. Issuance. The commissioner may issue a permit to a person permitting the introduction, importation, possession and use of wildlife in accordance with the provisions of subsection 5.

3-A. Restrictions. A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize the permittee to:

A. Possess, propagate or sell deer, bear, moose, wild turkey, hybrid wild turkey or wild turkey-domestic turkey cross nor does it authorize the permittee to possess, propagate or sell any wild animal taken in accordance with section 11601, 11602, 12401, 12402 or 12404; or

B. Import any species of wild turkey, hybrid wild turkey or wild turkey-domestic turkey cross or the eggs of these species.

3-B. Repealed. Laws 2017, c. 205, § 17, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.

3-C. Issuance for unpermitted wildlife. The commissioner may issue a permit under this section to a person who possesses wildlife without a permit for which a permit is required if the possession would have been allowed had the person applied for a permit before importing or possessing the wildlife. A person issued a permit under this subsection must pay a fee of $500 in addition to the applicable application fee and permit fee. A person issued a permit under this subsection may not be charged with a penalty under section 12151.

3-D. Permit types; application fees; permit fees. An applicant for a permit under this section shall submit a written application on a form specified by the commissioner. The application must be accompanied by the applicable nonrefundable application fee. The following permits may be issued by the commissioner:

A. A category 1 restricted species importation permit, which allows the holder to import wildlife that is endangered or threatened or presents a risk to humans into the State. The following fees apply to a permit under this paragraph:

(1) Application fee, $250; and

(2) Permit fee, $27;

B. A category 1 restricted species exhibition permit, which allows the holder to exhibit wildlife for commercial purposes that is endangered or threatened or presents a risk to humans or that requires special housing or care. A category 1 restricted species exhibition permit does not allow the holder to exhibit wolf hybrids, as defined in Title 7, section 3907, subsection 30. A category 1 restricted species exhibition permit expires 2 years from the date of issuance. The following fees apply to a permit under this paragraph:

(1) Application fee, $250; and

(2) Permit fee, $150;

C. A category 2 restricted species importation permit, which allows the holder to import wildlife that requires special housing or care. The following fees apply to a permit under this paragraph:

(1) Application fee, $100; and

(2) Permit fee, $27;

D. A category 2 restricted species possession permit, which allows the holder to possess wildlife that requires special housing or care. A category 2 restricted species possession permit expires 2 years from the date of issuance. The following fees apply to a permit under this paragraph:

(1) Application fee, $27; and

(2) Permit fee, $27;

E. A wildlife rehabilitation permit, which allows the holder to possess debilitated or orphaned wildlife and rehabilitate that wildlife and release it into the wild as soon as the wildlife is rehabilitated or euthanize that wildlife in accordance with humane euthanization procedures if rehabilitiation and release are not possible. A wildlife rehabilitation permit is available at no cost and expires 2 years from the date of issuance;

F. A research permit, which allows the holder to import and possess wildlife that is endangered or threatened or presents a risk to humans or that requires special housing or care to conduct scientific research or to use for educational purposes. A research permit is available at no cost and expires 2 years from the date of issuance; and

G. An educational and scientific collection permit, which allows the holder to hunt, trap, possess, band and transport wildlife from within the State for educational or scientific purposes. An educational and scientific permit is not required to hunt, trap, possess, band or transport an invertebrate that is not listed by the department as endangered, threatened or of special concern. An educational and scientific collection permit is available at no cost and expires one year from the date of issuance.

4. Repealed. Laws 2017, c. 205, § 19, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.

4-A. Renewal. A permit holder who wishes to renew a permit issued under this section must renew the permit prior to its expiration date. The department may assess a late fee of $25, in addition to the required permit fee, to a person who does not renew a permit prior to its expiration date.

5. Rules. The commissioner may adopt rules necessary for the administration of this section, including provisions to ensure that all wildlife possessed under these permits receives humane treatment and proper husbandry and security, and to safeguard the interests of the wildlife and citizens of the State. Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A. Rules adopted may include but are not limited to rules that:

A. Maintain updated inspection provisions for applicants attempting to acquire a permit to possess or introduce, import and possess fish or wildlife in captivity;

B. Maintain a fee structure to establish fees for inspection provisions for regulated species;

C. Provide a process that allows authorized independent contractors to meet with permit applicants to educate applicants on minimum standard facility requirements and to inspect current facilities to recommend approval or denial of a permit; and

D. Charge a responsible party for the cost incurred to remove or euthanize unpermitted regulated fish or wildlife species.

6. Additional permit requirements. In addition to the provisions adopted under subsection 3, the commissioner may assign permit conditions or requirements designed to mitigate potential impacts or risks that may arise from the possession of specific wildlife species or to ensure the humane treatment or proper husbandry for specific species.

7. Escaped wildlife prohibition; penalty. The following provisions apply to escaped wildlife.

A. A person may not allow wildlife in captivity to escape that person's possession or control in violation of:

(1) Rules adopted pursuant to subsection 5; or

(2) An additional permit condition or requirement assigned pursuant to subsection 6.

B. Notwithstanding section 12151, subsection 2, a person who violates paragraph A commits:

(1) A Class E crime if the wildlife is permitted in accordance with this section and the permit holder does not immediately notify a law enforcement officer that the wildlife has escaped;

(2) A Class E crime if the wildlife is not permitted in accordance with this section and the person immediately notifies a law enforcement officer that the wildlife has escaped; or

(3) A Class D crime if the wildlife is not permitted in accordance with this section and the person does not immediately notify a law enforcement officer that the wildlife has escaped.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, § B-201, eff. Aug. 31, 2004; 2005, c. 12, § III-22; 2005, c. 117, § 2; 2015, c. 301, § 27, eff. Oct. 15, 2015; 2015, c. 374, §§ 5 to 10, eff. Oct. 15, 2015; 2015, c. 494, § A-8, eff. April 27, 2016; 2017, c. 205, §§ 14 to 19, eff. Nov. 1, 2017; 2017, c. 285, § 2, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.



§ 12153. Repealed. Laws 2015, c. 301, § 28, eff. Oct. 15, 2015.


§ 12154. Department breeding or rearing wild birds

Notwithstanding section 12151 as it applies to section 12152, section 12151 does not apply to migratory game birds, partridge, grouse or pheasant owned by the department.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, § B-203, eff. Aug. 31, 2004.


  § 12155. Repealed. Laws 2015, c. 374, § 11, eff. Oct. 15, 2015.



§ 12156. Release of wildlife into wild

1. Permit required. Except as otherwise authorized pursuant to this Part, a person may not release into the wild captive, raised or imported wildlife unless that person has a valid permit issued under this section. Each day a person violates this subsection that person commits a Class E crime for which a minimum fine of $50 and an amount equal to twice the applicable license fee must be imposed.

2. Issuance. The commissioner may issue a written permit to any person permitting that person to release into the wild captive, raised or imported wildlife.

3. Wild turkey restrictions. Only the commissioner or agents of the commissioner may sell, give away or release into the wild any live wild turkey, hybrid wild turkey, wild turkey-domestic turkey cross or fertile egg of these species.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2017, c. 205, § 20, eff. Nov. 1, 2017. 


§ 12157. Permit to transport wildlife for breeding and advertising

1. Permit required. The commissioner may issue a permit to anyone permitting that person to take and transport within the limits of the State wildlife taken in the State for breeding or advertising purposes.

2. Prohibition. A person may not take or transport within the limits of the State wildlife taken in the State for breeding or advertising purposes unless that person holds a valid permit issued under this section.

3. Penalty. Each day a person violates subsection 2 that person commits a Class E crime for which a minimum fine of $50 and an amount equal to twice the applicable license fee must be imposed.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, § B-205, eff. Aug. 31, 2004.


§ 12158. Importation permit for pheasants - § 12158. Repealed. Laws 2017, c. 205, § 21, eff. Nov. 1, 2017

Former Text:

1. Permit required. Except as otherwise authorized pursuant to this Part, a person may not import pheasants, alive, dead or dressed, unless that person has a valid permit issued under this section. Each day a person violates this subsection that person commits a Class E crime for which a minimum of $50 and an amount equal to twice the applicable license fee must be imposed.

2. Issuance. The commissioner may issue a written permit to any person permitting that person to import pheasants, alive, dead or dressed.

3. Application. Importers shall, when requesting a permit, provide the commissioner with the following:

A. Information as to the number of pheasants to be imported;

B. The name and address of the seller;

C. Information whether or not the birds are live or dressed; and

D. A statement from an approved veterinarian, from the Department of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources or from the conservation department of the state from which the pheasants are imported certifying that they are from flocks that have been tested for pullorum and typhoid, show no evidence of tuberculosis or other infectious or contagious disease and have not been exposed to such disease during the 6 months prior to importation.

4. Requirements; leg band required. The following are leg band requirements for ringneck pheasants.

A. Upon receipt of shipment, importers of ringneck pheasants shall attach securely to each bird a permanent leg band.

B. A person may not remove a leg band attached to a bird under this subsection until the bird is finally prepared for consumption. Each day a person violates this subsection that person commits a Class E crime.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, § B-206, eff. Aug. 31, 2004.


§ 12159. Taking reptiles and amphibians from the wild

1. Prohibition; penalties. Except as provided in this section, a person may not take and possess reptiles or amphibians from the wild for export, sale or commercial purposes.

A. A person who violates this subsection commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 may be adjudged.

B. A person who violates this subsection after having been adjudicated as having committed 3 or more civil violations under this Part within the previous 5-year period commits a Class E crime.

2. Commercial amphibian permit. Persons harvesting amphibians for purposes of sale are required to obtain a permit from the commissioner. The fee for a permit issued under this subsection is $27. The permit expires one year from the date of issuance.

3. Rules. The commissioner shall adopt rules pertaining to harvest methods, confinement and disposal of amphibians. The commissioner may by rule:

A. Require reporting of harvest activities;

B. Establish a season, including daily and season possession limits; and

C. Establish requirements for humane harvest, confinement and disposal methods.

Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

Credits
2003, c. 414, § A-2; 2003, c. 655, §§ B-207, B-208, eff. Aug. 31, 2004; 2011, c. 253, § 23, eff. June 8, 2011; 2017, c. 205, §§ 22, 23, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.


§ 12160. Disposition of wolf hybrids

1. Determination of species. The department shall respond to requests under Title 7, section 3911-B, subsection 3 for assistance in capturing and disposing of an animal suspected of being a wolf hybrid. The department may presume that the animal is a wolf hybrid if:

A. Licensure as a dog under Title 7, section 3922 cannot be confirmed;

B. The animal bears no identification indicating ownership; and

C. The animal has distinct wolflike characteristics.

The department may pursue genetic testing to determine if the animal is a wolf or wolf hybrid.

2. Rulemaking. The department shall adopt rules establishing procedures for disposing of animals determined to be wolf hybrids under subsection 1. For the purposes of this section, “disposing” includes, but is not limited to, transferring the animal to a person holding a permit under section 12152 or euthanasia in accordance with Title 17, chapter 42, subchapter 4. Rules adopted under this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

Credits
2011, c. 100, § 16, eff. May 19, 2011.


§ 12161. Taking of certain nonmarine invertebrates from the wild for commercial purposes

1. Prohibition; penalties. Except as provided in this section, a person may not take and possess certain nonmarine invertebrates, specifically freshwater mussels, butterflies, moths, dragonflies or beetles, from the wild for export, sale or commercial purposes.

A. A person who violates this subsection commits a civil violation for which a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $500 may be adjudged.

B. A person who violates this subsection after having been adjudicated as having committed 3 or more civil violations under this Part within the previous 5-year period commits a Class E crime.

2. Commercial nonmarine invertebrate permit. Persons harvesting freshwater mussels, butterflies, moths, dragonflies or beetles for export, sale or commercial purposes are required to obtain a permit from the commissioner. The fee for a permit issued under this subsection is $27. The permit expires one year from the date of issuance.

3. Rules. The commissioner may by rule:

A. Require reporting of commercial harvest activities, including at a minimum dates, locations and numbers collected by species;

B. Establish daily and season possession limits; and

C. Repealed. Laws 2017, c. 205, § 26, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.

D. Require humane harvest, confinement and disposal methods.

Rules adopted pursuant to this subsection are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.

Credits
2011, c. 253, § 24, eff. June 8, 2011; 2017, c. 205, §§ 24 to 26, eff. Nov. 1, 2017.


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