Did you know that the National Park Service has an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC)? This group is charged with assisting “NPS units in complying with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), its regulations (AWAR), and the Interagency Research Animal Committee (IRAC) principles for projects involving the use of vertebrate animals in research, teaching, and/or exhibition.” Any animal studies that are conducted on “NPS territory, involves the use of vertebrate animals, and has as its aim the collection of scientific information, teaching, and/or exhibition of said vertebrate animals… requires NPS IACUC review for compliance”. The composition of this committee follows the AWAR, regarding committee membership roles, in addition to seven regional representatives (one from each of the park service region). The NPS IACUC is an officially registered IACUC with the USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care unit (USDA APHIS AC), and is based in Fort Collins, Colorado.
To facilitate protocol submission and review, submission templates are available on their website and are accepted by electronic or standard mail. In addition, Exhibitors must fill out an Exhibitor Submission form and submit it for approval of the NPS IACUC. If your animal study has been approved by another IACUC, you still need the NPS IACUCs approval before the research can be undertaken if NPS resources or land are used. Studies identified by the NPS IACUC as Field Studies are exempt from IACUC review; however, the “NPS IACUC reserves the right to monitor all projects it deems Field Studies in order to ensure the continuance of a project’s Field Study status, or to appropriately re-evaluate said status as needed”.
Committee meetings occur twice monthly, and protocols are reviewed as Designated Member (DMR) or Full Committee (FCR). Upon approval, an NPS unit research permit must still be obtained before the research can commence. The IACUC reviews protocols only for AWAR compliance, not compliance with NPS regulations or facilities/staff/resources in each NPS region.
For more information, visit the NPS IACUC website.