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.

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: May 31, 2019