Smithsonian animal care polices
There are two main types of permits researchers working with live vertebrates at STRI must obtain: a STRI Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee permit (IACUC) and a scientific permit from the Panamanian government (e.g., ANAM for terrestrial work, ARAP for marine work).
In compliance with Smithsonian Directive 605, all STRI research staff, associates, visiting scientists, students and fellows whose research and collecting activities involve live vertebrates must submit a general animal care and use protocol to STRI’s IACUC review committee. For research involving tagging or collaring vertebrate animals (e.g., radio-tagging, harnessing or collaring), an additional marking protocol must be submitted and approved.
IACUC protocols are reviewed as they are received. Turnaround time takes an average of two weeks. Because STRI will not process Panamanian government scientific permits (ANAM, ARAP, etc.) until IACUC protocols are approved, we ask that you please submit your IACUC protocol at least four months in advance of the start date of your research to ensure sufficient time for all permit processing.
STRI IACUC protocols are valid for three years. At the end of each year, you must submit a brief annual report. You will receive a reminder one month prior to the date your annual report is due. Your protocol will not be considered valid unless all annual reports have been received. New protocols will not be processed until all annual reports are received.
If you have an approved STRI IACUC protocol but need to make changes in personnel, study species, methodology or research site, please submit an IACUC amendment form.
To submit IACUC forms and to ask questions, please contact: STRIIACUC@si.edu
- IACUC – General Protocol
- IACUC – Supplemental Protocol for Tagging/Collaring
- IACUC – Amendment
- IACUC – Annual Report
IACUC training course:
All principle investigators working with live vertebrates at STRI must have completed an IACUC training course. Anyone who has an approved IACUC protocol from another US institution has likely taken this course already. If this is the case, you do not need to take the Smithsonian IACUC training course. All others can find instructions on taking the online training module. The course is valid for three years and then must be followed by a refresher course. You will be asked for proof of your IACUC training upon registering a new project at STRI. STRI only requires principle investigators to take the online training course. Principle investigators are in turn responsible for training the students and collaborators on their project on the animal care protocols that pertain to their particular project.
STRI IACUC Members:
Current members of STRI’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee include Rachel Page, staff scientist and chair; Patrick Jansen, staff scientist and head of the CTFS-SIGEO mammal survey project; Raineldo Urriola, STRI scientific coordinator; Oris Acevedo, STRI scientific coordinator; Vilma Fernandez, STRI administrative coordinator; Jose Ramon Perurena, STRI safety officer; Charlotte Elton, representative from the local community; and Diorene Smith, STRI affiliated veterinarian and veterinarian at Summit Nature Park.
Frequently asked questions:
If my research has already been approved by my home university, why do I have to submit a second IACUC protocol to STRI?
There are a number of STRI-specific issues that must be addressed locally, such as pressures from multiple research groups on local populations, the spread of zoonotic disease, local animal facility use, etc. Because we receive a high volume of protocols each year, we ask that you complete and submit our STRI-specific IACUC forms, not the forms from your home university. This saves our committee time, reduces the number of questions we need to ask the researcher, and allows us to process applications faster.
Do I need an IACUC protocol to work with dead animals?
If you are the one who will euthanize the animals, yes, you do need an IACUC protocol. If you purchase the animals already dead, you do not need an IACUC protocol. IACUC protocols are required for work with all live vertebrates, even those that will be immediately euthanized by the researcher.
Are researchers working with fish required to submit IACUC protocols?
Yes, STRI IACUC protocols are required for all vertebrates, fish included.
Do field courses need to submit IACUC protocols?
Yes, the course leader needs to submit an IACUC protocol for the group, listing all students and instructors in the group and the proposed animal handling procedures, including a general description of possible independent student projects. The general protocol form can be found here .