Donations to the UWYMV

Anna's Hummingbird nest with two eggs inside.

Donations of animals to museums can take many different forms. Scientists often collaborate with museums to donate different types of specimens from their research. Inactive public or private collections may be given to museums in order to ensure their future preservation and use. Finally, one of the most valuable types of donation to a collection comes from the public in the form of salvage. The UWYMV is actively participating with a variety of sources to expand the museum’s collections. If you have any questions about donating to the UWYMV please contact us.

Donating Salvaged Animals

Animals die from a wide variety of causes, such as hitting windows to death by starvation. The donation of animals that are found dead, or salvaged, make up a significant portion of most the UWYMV’s modern collection. Salvaged animals can provide records of the current ecosystem, allow for the acquisition of animals that are difficult to obtain any other way, and supply documentation of unusual species for an area or habitat. Salvage of specimens generally comes from wildlife hospitals, rehabilitators, and members of the public who find animals under windows, on their property, or along the road.

The UWYMV is actively adding salvaged birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians from both Wyoming and Colorado to our collection, especially those that are in relatively good condition. Certain rare or unusual animals are valuable to the museum even when they are damaged or decomposed. 
Please Note: The salvage of animals is regulated by various state and federal agencies. Keeping dead animals for your own use may be illegal and/or hazardous to your health. The UWYMV maintains special permits that allow the museum to possess salvaged animals, for scientific and educational uses. 

What to do if you find a dead animal:

Salvaged animals should be donated to the UWYMV as quickly as possible. If you cannot bring it to the museum right away, then the animal should be placed in a sealed plastic bag and frozen. Please make sure you wash your hands after handling the carcass, and to watch out for fleas, tick and other parasites.

To ensure the maximum value of any salvaged animal the following information is a must:

  1. Locality – be as specific and accurate as you can. Give the state, county, and address, cross streets, trail head, etc.
  2. Date – write out the exact date you found the animal dead in the wild (i.e. 1 July 2015).
  3. Your name, address, phone number, and email – this information will allow us to contact you if we have any questions.
  4. How you found the animal – this information will help us determine how the animal died (i.e. found under a window, alongside the road), as well as can provide information about the habitat the animal was in (i.e. open prairie, beside a pond), and what it may have been doing before it died.

Place all of this information on a piece of paper and put it in the bag with the animal, and bring the animal to the museum as soon as you can. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

Head mounts: bison, elk, white-tailed deer, cow, black-tailed deer, and pronghorn. Full body mounts: Coyote and young Wolf.
S. H. Knight Collection, American Heritage Center, Univ. WY