Located near Denver, Colorado, the National Wildlife Property Repository is the national receiving and storage facility for wildlife products seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement (OLE) and our law enforcement partners. No live wildlife is stored at the facility, but there are roughly 1.4 million items in inventory including fashion items, medicinal products, and mounted specimens representing species from around the world. Despite our large inventory, the items represented at the Repository amount to only a fraction of the volume of items involved in the illegal wildlife trade.
The Repository receives wildlife property items from OLE Special Agents and Wildlife Inspectors working throughout the United States and U.S. Territories, and from members of the public. As required by law, these items are stored in a secure environment, and many are loaned to other U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices, Department of the Interior Bureaus, other government agencies, educational facilities, and other entities to aid in teaching about endangered species and the illegal wildlife trade. Other items are used by scientific and research institutions in conservation research. Some items may aid in future in law enforcement investigations.
The National Wildlife Property Repository is housed in the same facility as the National Eagle Repository which provides enrolled members of Federally Recognized Native American Tribes with the remains and feathers of bald and golden eagles for religious and cultural purposes. Learn more about this program here.
Both the National Wildlife Property Repository and the National Eagle Repository are supported by an education program offering facility tours and other opportunities to learn about wildlife trade. Learn more about education and outreach opportunities under "What We Do."
- Receive seized, forfeited, and abandoned wildlife property from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents and Wildlife Inspectors, and from members of the public.
- Inventory and securely store for wildlife property.
- Provide loans of wildlife property items and specimens to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service offices and to other federal, state, and municipal government offices, and to educational and scientific institutions.
- Develop and provide educational programs about the illegal wildlife trade and endangered or protected species.
The National Wildlife Property Repository relocated from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Clark R. Bavin National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory (Lab) in Ashland, Oregon to Denver, Colorado in June 1995.
The Lab was constructed in 1998, and in less than a decade, the ever-expanding collection of wildlife property had surpassed the Lab's need for these items as reference material for forensic investigations and casework
In 1995, the Special Agent in Charge for the Mountain Prairie Region (currently Colorado, Kansas, Montana Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Utah) was directed to plan the transportation of the then-thousands of property items stored at the Lab to a central location within the Mountain-Prairie region. Through a successful partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional leadership and the U.S. Army, a suitable building was identified at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge, once a chemical weapons manufacturing facility, then an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund Site, and now a 15,000-acre premier urban . With the help of a group of dedicated staff and volunteers and a small appropriation of funds, the National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository opened in July 1995.
In 2001, the Repository moved to its current building on the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and underwent renovation to add an eagle and wildlife property processing area, an education room, and additional office space. In 2021, the Repository underwent the largest renovation and construction to date, including revisions to the education room, front entrance, and loading dock, the addition of a dermestid beetle colony room and wash stations in the National Eagle Repository laboratory, and numerous updates to the wildlife property collection storage space. These included updates to HVAC, lighting, temperature and humidity control, and new modernized shelving to hold the approximately 1.5 million items currently housed in our 22,000 square foot facility.