US Fish and Wildlife shares information about taxidermy stands

The photo is from Sioux Falls.

Sioux Falls, SD (KELO) — The Delbridge Museum of Natural History contacted the US Fish and Wildlife Service in June about recommendations for its taxidermy collection, USFW’s Dan Quayle said.

Coyle said the agency was contacted for recommendations for mountains that were declining and potentially contaminated with arsenic, asbestos and other harmful chemicals.


Delbridge and city officials announced on August 17 that the museum was closed because about 79% of the mounts tested positive for arsenic. Arsenic is considered a carcinogen and has been linked to cancer. Officials said there was no immediate threat to staff or the public, but they closed the museum as a precaution.

“Heavy chemicals used in past embalming practices can be absorbed through the skin or, in some cases, become airborne where they can pose inhalation hazards,” Cowell said in his email to KELOLAND News.

GPZ, Mayor Paul Tenhaken, and parks and recreation officials have recommended that the city council declare the mountains as surplus and decommission them. The City Council will receive a presentation on Delbridge today (5 September).

Officials said many of the specimens are on the list of threatened or endangered species. Specific rules govern how such installations may be decommissioned or moved, if applicable.

“The USFWS makes recommendations for the disposal of parts/assemblies of species protected under CITES, US federal laws such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and marine mammals,” Coyle said in his email. protection (MMPA), the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), and the Lacey Act.

The options for embalming stands seem to be limited.

“Several factors influence whether taxidermy specimens can be sold or donated. Species protection status, age, and method of acquisition are just a few of the things that can affect the ability of taxidermy to be legally marketed or even transferred to another owner. In some cases, there may be Permits are needed, or the transfer may be prohibited.”It is the responsibility of the landlord to ensure that all sales and transfers are conducted in accordance with the law,” Coyle said in his email.

City Attorney Dave Pfeifel said at a news conference Aug. 29 that South Dakota law would require the city to make a donation to a 5013c-eligible entity and the items would have to be stored or displayed in the state.

The USFWS simply cannot receive mounts, Coyle said.

“The USFWS has previously accepted individual collections of protected species from museums during their separation process, but the USFWS always seeks information about the history of the item(s) before making decisions,” Coyle said. “One example of the type of information the USFWS requests is a history of chemical tests and positive or negative confirmation of certain chemicals. The service does not pay for chemical testing of formulations. Chemical tests are the responsibility of the wildlife owner.

GPZ has provided KELOLAND News with lab results from chemical contaminant tests for Delbridge fixtures. The results showed varying degrees of arsenic.

GPZ said the taxidermist’s evaluation report will not be available to KELOLAND. “We can tell you that the samples fit the full range of ‘bad’ to ‘excellent’ conditions, with approximately 30% showing obvious damage and/or deterioration,” Denise DiPaolo of GPZ Communications said in an email.

Neither the zoo nor the city have records of any previous chemical testing at the Delbridge Museum of Natural History. Annual maintenance of the hides ranged from repairing small tears to larger rebuilding. Personal protective equipment, including gloves and masks, Worn by anyone who cleans or works on swatches.

Coyle said best practices for contaminated pregnant women include isolating them in sealed glass screens. He said the estimated costs of doing so would depend on the number and size of the animals and the method of containment. The instructions also cover how to properly handle contaminated fixtures.

Coyle said the best practices have been identified by the American Alliance of Museums. The US Department of the Interior also has guidelines.

Embalming stands contaminated with arsenic, asbestos, or other harmful chemicals that cannot be transported properly must be “stored in a closed case, stored in a manner that discourages contamination such as a sealed plastic bag, or destroyed and disposed of as hazardous.” Waste materials in accordance with local regulations, Cowell said in his email.

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