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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issues permits under various wildlife law and treaties at a number of offices throughout the country.  Service permit programs ensure that such activities are carried out in a manner that safeguards wildlife.  Additionally, some permits promote conservation efforts by authorizing scientific research, generating data, or allowing wildlife management and rehabilitation activates to go forward.

Permits are handled by permitting programs in International Affairs (Management Authority), Endangered SpeciesLaw Enforcement, and  Migratory Birds.

Visit the National Wildlife Refuge System Web site for Special Use Permits.

For more detailed information, go to How to Obtain a PermitFAQs/Facts, or Application Forms.


Permitting at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge 

Most special events and activities held in Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge require Special Use Permits (SUP) and are issued after the Refuge Manager has assessed the activity to be appropriate and compatible with the Refuge purposes. Refuge activities, including but not limited to scientific research, organized education activities, first amendment activities, and all commercial activities require a Special Use Permit. Permits must be secured before any special use activity commences on the Refuge lands and inland waters. Plan ahead and allow for 30 working days to process a permit request. In addition, if significant staff time is expended in the evaluation of a complex permitting request, the applicant will be billed for these staff costs. 


All SUP and First Amendment requests must be made in writing and must include: 

1. Applicant name, physical address, e-mail address, and phone number. 
(Include the names of individuals who will be involved with the activity.)

2. Project title 

3. Detailed description of the activity (include materials, equipment, methods and procedures you plan to use).

4. Justification for use of the Refuge.

5. Schedule (proposed dates, times, deadlines).

6. Expected impacts to fish and wildlife resources, their habitats, and public use.


Research Activities Special Use Permit:
Priority will be given to studies or activities that contribute to the enhancement, protection, use, preservation, and management of native wildlife populations and their habitats. The following factors that will be considered in the determination of whether to issue an SUP for research: 

• Will the project benefit the Refuge?

• Does the project address an issue of direct management concern to the Refuge?

• Does the project address an issue of concern for overall South Florida ecosystem?

• Can the activity/research be conducted elsewhere?

• Is the activity compatible with the objectives of the Refuge?

• Will the use require the use of government equipment or personnel?

• Is the applicant(s) qualified? 

If you feel that your research project has sound merit, please complete the application at the link below and provide a copy of your detailed research proposal that address the above factors.

Research Special Use Permit

Commercial Activities Special Use Permit
Activities that operate as a commercial use such as guided tours (eg., fishing, ecotours, hunting guide, boating guide) and commercial filming (audio, video, photographic products of monetary value) must be adequately described in a Commercial Use Application for a SUP. 

In addition to the SUP application, the following components are required at the same time the SUP application is submitted:

All commercial users provide insurance certificate identifying the Refuge as an Additional Insured Party. The refuge name and address needs to be listed on the insurance certificate under the Certificate Holder section. The minimum amount of commercial liability insurance by a U.S. company is generally one million dollars. However, there may be a reduced amount of liability insurance coverage of $500,000 that can apply to some smaller commercial users if their application reflects details of lower-risk commercial services. Insurance must carried by the permit requester at the time of the application submission and throughout the requested time of the permit. 

    All Commercial Use SUPs will be subject to fees. The base fee for a Commercial Use Photography or Filming permit is $150.00. Small scale ecotours, guided duck hunting, and fishing SUPs that are needed during a year’s period are $150.00 per year. Checks need to be made out to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
    We issue Commercial Use SUPs at the beginning of October that run to the end of September of the following year. Depending on the need to ensure protection of refuge resources and provide for permit monitoring, the fees may increase as cost re-imbursement for staff time which is required by policy. All fees are due at the time of permit issuance and only checks from US banks or money orders are acceptable to pay permit fees. While it is possible to remit fee payment via mail, it is best for the fee remittance to be paid in person at the above address after a Refuge Manager has corresponded with the applicant and given an approval for a Commercial Use SUP.

    Commercial Activity Special Use Permit

    General Use Special Use Permit
    For miscellaneous one-time events, such as educational activities, First Amendment activities, and compatible use gatherings, please complete an application for a General Special Use Permit. First Amendment gatherings will not be subject to staff fees.

     General Special Use Permit

    Application Process
    Applications for research, organized events - education or First Amendment activities, and commercial uses may be submitted by fax, email, or via mail. Recall permit requests may take up to 30 days for review and issuance. 

    Mail: Florida Panther NWR
    12085 State Road 29 South
    Immokalee, FL 34142

    Fax: 239-657-8002


      Research Special Use Permit  

    Commercial Activity Special Use Permit 

     General Special Use Permit 


    Thank you for your interest in permitted activities at Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge!