Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)

A young eagle gets his talon measurements done by gloved veterinarians
Post-approval monitoring visit by NPS IACUC for research activities involving eagle nest checks and eaglet assessment. Handlers measuring an eaglet and wearing appropriate gear, such as gloves, for protecting human and animal health.

NPS Photo.

Recommendations for NPS Units with domestic animals, including livestock, working dogs, and cultural or educational display animals, requiring daily observation and/or care during funding lapse:
  • Ensure that furlough-excepted employees are trained to provide the following care for NPS animals in the park for the duration of any government shutdown:
    • General understanding of normal versus abnormal behavior for the animals
    • Check to ensure all animals have access to clean water and feed daily
    • Check on safety and security of animals within their enclosures/pastures, including access to shade or shelter from inclement weather and protection from predators
    • Continuity of care can be maintained for any animals already receiving veterinary care at the time of shutdown (e.g. daily medications, wound care, special diet, quarantine/isolation)
    • Understanding of when to consult NPS veterinarian and/or local veterinarian for emergency care.
  • Prior to a lapse in funding, establish an arrangement with a local veterinary clinic able to provide emergency or as needed veterinary services for the species housed on site during the time of the shutdown. This may require a provision for payment to be made upon return to full-operations and funding provisions. Veterinary care is an approved expense to ensure animal welfare and superintendents may make arrangements for compensation.
  • A furlough-excepted NPS veterinarian is on call during lapses in government appropriations for consultation on veterinary and public health matters. Contact Dr. Danielle Buttke, Biological Resources Division/Wildlife Health Branch and Office of Public Health, Cell: 970-631-5084, e-mail us.
Click to report an animal welfare concern

What We Do:

  • Provide oversight for the humane care and use of wild, vertebrate animals in research, teaching, and training in parks.
  • Assists parks and researchers in achieving compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and Inter-agency Research Animal Committee (IRAC) principles.
  • Provides guidance to promote animal welfare, human and animal safety. and scientific integrity in activities occurring in NPS units.

How We Do This:

  • Review projects involving vertebrate animals to be used in research, teaching, and training within NPS units
  • Consult with park representatives and researchers about proposed animal activities and advise on regulatory requirements and current standards of care for wildlife research animals, emphasizing the 3 R's: refinement, reduction, and replacement
  • Visit locations where vertebrate animal activities are conducted for post-approval monitoring (PAM)
  • Report to appropriate authorities on the use of animals in research within NPS units
  • Advise, consult, and collaborate with other agencies on animal welfare oversight in wildlife research

How We Can Help:

Please use our intranet site (NPS employees only) for assistance or call (970) 267-7237.
Please complete the General Submission form (below) if NPS IACUC will be the sole IACUC for review of your project. Once completed, please e-mail the form to the address listed on it.

** If your project has already received review and approval by an IACUC other than the NPS IACUC, you need only to attach 3 documents to an e-mail and send them to the e-mail address provided on the forms. The three documents are: 1) A copy of your approving IACUC's official approval notice, 2) A copy of your complete Study Plan; i.e. what your approving IACUC approved, and 3) the NPS IACUC Concurrence Form, which can be found below. More information may be requested, if needed, once we review these documents.
Please complete the Amendment form (below). Once completed, please e-mail the form to the address listed on it.

The NPS IACUC requests that all vertebrate animal research submissions provide adequate information regarding the training and qualifications for personnel conducting activities in the field within NPS units. These should include, but are not limited to:

  • Role of each person listed in conducting any procedures with wild vertebrate animals

    • Principal Investigator may not be involved in conducting field research so list who will be the responsible, qualified person conducting and/or overseeing the procedures.

  • Experience with the species or justification for translating other species’ experience

    • If not all personnel are experienced, list who will train and how training will be conducted.

  • Experience with the specific procedures and appropriate certification

    • Chemical immobilization qualifications and training courses complete

    • Aerial Capture, Eradication, and Tagging of Animals (ACETA), if applicable

    • Euthanasia methods, particularly in the field, and if personnel in this role have been adequately trained. This should include firearm selection and qualifications if humane killing by gunshot is the most appropriate method.

  • Supervision will be provided for students or less experienced personnel by qualified expert and criteria for if/when allowed to conduct procedures independently

Please e-mail us with any questions.


Larger documents may take several minutes to open. Thank you for your patience.
  • General Submission Form (PDF 8,228 KB)
  • Amendment Form (PDF 1,125 KB)
  • Annual Review Study Form (PDF 1,164 KB)
  • BioBlitz Field Study Form (PDF 5,529 KB)
    • *For any project involving the capture and/or handling of animals the NPS IACUC requests that there be a plan in place for humane euthanasia of animals should it be needed. You can add the details regarding the method and qualified personnel in the field entitled "Are any additional procedures to be done as part of this demonstration?" on page 2.
  • Concurrence Form (PDF 2,065 KB)

For questions about projects involving wild, vertebrate animals and the need for NPS IACUC review or for any questions about animal welfare oversight by the NPS IACUC, please contact us at:
(970) 267-7237

NOTE: NPS units issue permits for conducting scientific projects within their respective boundaries through the Research Permit and Reporting System (RPRS). NPS IACUC approval DOES NOT replace Park specific permit requirements. Please contact your NPS park representative for specific requirements and procedures.

NPS IACUC Contact:

Dr. Tracy Thompson
Committee Chair and Attending Veterinarian
e-mail Tracy

Links to IACUC Training and Resources

  • Learn more about Animal Welfare Act, regulations, and standards from the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), here.
  • Find U.S. Government Principles for the Utilization and Care of Vertebrate Animals Used in Testing, Research, and Training, here.
  • Read more about the American Veterinary Medical Association's guidelines for the euthansia of animals, 2013 editions, here. (PDF 1,336 KB)
  • Visit the Animal Welfare Information Center website, here, for more IACUC resources.
  • Read the 2016 guidelines of the American Society of Mammalogists for the use of wild animals in research and education, here.
  • Read guidelines for the use of fishes in research, here.
  • Read the Ornithological Council guidelines for the use of wild birds in research, here.
  • Read guidelines for use of live reptiles and amphibians in research, here.

Additional NPS Resources

Last updated: February 13, 2019