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STRI Animal Care and Use Committee (STRI ACUC)

STRI Permits Frequently Asked Questions

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute acknowledges and accepts responsibility for the care and use of animals, and seeks to conduct animal activities with the highest respect for animal wellbeing.

In compliance with Smithsonian Directive 605, all Smithsonian Institution employees and affiliated persons (visiting researchers, scientists, scholars, students, volunteers, interns and fellows) whose research and collecting activities involving live vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals) must obtain prior approval from STRI Animal Care and Use Committee.

NOTE: Your home university/institution protocol IS NOT valid at STRI as there are 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.

All STRI ACUC applications, amendments and reports must be submitted online. Please login to our online platform at If you have any trouble navigating the system, please view our video tutorial (, or contact with questions.

You will be asked to complete the following items. All forms can be completed in either English or Spanish.

  1. Protocol for the Humane Use of Live Vertebrates.
  2. Proof of IACUC training for Principal Investigators. All principal investigators working with live vertebrates must have completed an IACUC training course (online training module). Anyone who has an approved IACUC protocol from a US institution has likely taken this course already. If this is the case, you do not need to take the Smithsonian IACUC training course. The course is valid for three years and then must be followed by a refresher course. Only the principal investigator on the project is required to complete the course. Principal investigators are responsible for training the students and collaborators on their project on the animal care protocols that pertain to their particular project.
  3. If your work involves tagging or collaring vertebrate animals (e.g., radio-tagging, harnessing or collaring), you must include a supplemental tagging/collaring protocol.
  4. If you have an approved STRI ACUC protocol but need to make changes in personnel, study species, methodology or research site, you must submit an ACUC Project Amendment Form.

PLEASE NOTE: STRI ACUC protocols are valid for three years. At the end of each year, you must submit a brief annual report. You will receive automated reminders prior to the date your annual report is due. Your protocol will not be considered valid unless until your annual report has been received.

Current members of STRI’s Animal Care and Use Committee include Dr. Rachel Page, STRI staff scientist and STRI ACUC chair; Dr. Roberto Ibáñez, STRI staff scientist; Raineldo Urriola, STRI scientific coordinator; Félix Rodríguez scientific coordinator for the Tupper, CTPA and Fortuna facility; Plinio Góndola, Bocas del Toro scientific coordinator, Isis Ochoa, scientific coordinator for the Gamboa facility; Irving Bethancourt, scientific coordinator for Naos facility; Lourdes Vargas, scientific coordinator for Barro Colorado Natural Monument; Lil Camacho, STRI scientific permit officer; Bridget Warren, representative from the local community; and Lorena Fabrega STRI-affiliated veterinarian.

ACUC protocols are reviewed as they are received. The committee can take up to 30 working days to approve your protocol request. Because STRI will not process the Ministry of Environment (MiAmbiente) scientific research permit application until the ACUC protocol is approved, we recommend that you submit your ACUC application at least 4 months prior to the planned start of your fieldwork.

Please direct any questions to

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