May 28, 2024

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A new northern cardinal vehicle license plate is available for purchase from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The new image was created in celebration of the plate’s 20th anniversary.

The cardinal license plate costs $25 in addition to the yearly vehicle registration fee, and $15 from the sale of each license plate supports Ohio’s wildlife diversity. Wildlife conservation plates can be registered only to passenger vehicles, noncommercial trucks, motor homes and trailers

The original northern cardinal wildlife license plate was released in 1997, and it featured artwork by famed Ohio wildlife artist John A. Ruthven. Born in Cincinnati, Ruthven, now 92, has been hunting, fishing and painting for most of his life. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original cardinal license plate, Ruthven created new artwork for a redesigned license plate.

“When they asked me to paint a new cardinal, I was delighted,’” Ruthven said. “I’m very proud to be involved with this project. This whole thing blends together well for a lifelong experience with Ohio and the outdoors.”

Proceeds from the sale of the plate are deposited into the division’s Wildlife Diversity Fund and is used to support conservation and education efforts throughout the state. The Wildlife Diversity Fund supports projects that have worked to reintroduce native Ohio species, such as river otters and ospreys, as well as increase numbers of rare species such as bald eagles, brook trout, lake sturgeon and freshwater mussels.

In addition, the Wildlife Diversity Fund enables the ODNR Division of Wildlife to form partnerships with Ohio’s zoos, creating exhibits, displays as well as educational products and publications for students, teachers and wildlife enthusiasts. Since 1997, sales of Ohio’s wildlife license plates have generated more than $13 million for worthwhile conservation projects across the state. More information about the Wildlife Diversity Fund is available at

In addition to the cardinal, the ODNR Division of Wildlife has several other specialty plate design options, including a bald eagle, smallmouth bass, wild-turkey and white-tailed deer. Purchasing a smallmouth bass, wild-turkey or white-tailed deer license plate directly supports research and management for those species.

For more information about ODNR Division of Wildlife’s specialty license plates, visit or call 888-PLATES3.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at