Seven Years of Cooperation with U.S. Fish and Wildlife: Confiscation Evaluation and Disposition
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2002
Ann Manharth, DVM; Dominic Travis, DVM, MS
Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago, IL, USA


Since 1995, Lincoln Park Zoo has, in cooperation with United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), accepted responsibility for over confiscated 645 confiscated animals. These animals entered the United States through the Chicago O’Hare Airport Port and were confiscated for a variety of reasons. Placements were initially classified as loans in most cases; ultimate dispositions consisted of loan or donation to Lincoln Park Zoo, loan or donation to other institutions, return to importer, or death.

Reptiles and amphibians comprised 94% (61% and 33%, respectively) of the confiscated animals arriving at Lincoln Park Zoo. A number of conditions were identified upon entrance into quarantine at Lincoln Park Zoo, including a wide variety of parasitic infections. In addition, the logistics of handling large, unexpected numbers of animals with unknown histories and significant health issues became a challenge. A review of these cases has helped in the formation of a generic plan of action for systematically handling confiscations and establishing an index of suspicion for some of the infectious diseases that may come in with these importations.

The plan of action includes:

  • Systematic triage for all confiscated animals: including body temperature regulation and rehydration
  • Documentation of condition of animals upon arrival: both written and image
  • Positive identification of species
  • Individual identification of all specimens
  • Individual housing for all specimens if possible
  • Maintaining isolation from collection animals
  • Complete necropsy of all specimens that die. This is particularly important with early deaths in order to gain a complete picture of health problems.


The authors thank Dr. Sophie Molia for her time and efforts in making this review possible.


Speaker Information
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Ann Manharth, DVM
Lincoln Park Zoo
Chicago, IL, USA

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