Created to bridge the gap in communication between the managed wildlife community and the emergency management sector, the Zoo and Aquarium All Hazards Preparedness, Response and Recovery (ZAHP) Fusion Center is a USDA-funded initiative that works to disseminate critical information on prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery to the managed wildlife community while developing new partnerships with federal agencies, local and state emergency responders, and private sector groups concerned with animal welfare and emergency management.

Getting Started 

Click here for information and resources that will help you if you are are just starting  your planning process

Resource Management and Cost Tracking

Whether your facility is directly impacted by a disaster or you are responding to another in need, documentation is very important.

Contact Us

We want to hear from you! Click here if you have questions for ZAHP or would like to join our mailing list

ZAHP Chat – November 30th

This call will discuss recent events through the perspective of USDA/Animal Care with speakers who responded to various affected areas, and include a brief “FEMA Disaster Assistance 101”. We plan to devote the last half hour of the call to Q&A.   A digest of what was discussed on the call will be provided afterwards for those unable to attend.  All USDA licensed exhibitors are welcome to join the call, but we do ask that individuals from the same facility conference in together, when possible to maximize the number of lines.  Call in information is included below:


ZAHP Chat: A Discussion on the Ongoing Response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Thursday, November 30th 5:30 – 7:00 PM EST

Dial-in: (712) 775 – 7031

Access Code: 538-597


Questions?  Contact us! 

ZAHP Updates

  • November 20, 2017

    How Feral Swine Affect the Exotic Animal Industry

    The range of feral swine is increasing across the United States. Originally brought over by early explorers, swine are an old world species not native North America. Over time swine that have escaped or been released into the wild have bred and increased the overall population; and while they are the same species, these wild animals look very different from pigs raised on modern farms.

    While feral hogs can cause tremendous property damage to lawns, golf courses, and wildlife habitat, The Fusion Center’s concern rests primarily in their potential as disease vectors. As their range spreads, consider how this would affect the spread of a Foreign Animal Disease. If Foot and Mouth Disease were to emerge in this country in a region where feral swine may become reservoirs, eradication of the disease would be difficult if not impossible. There are an estimated 6 million feral swine in at least 35 states with a high concentration in Texas and California. For reference, please see the 2016 Map of Feral Swine Populations by County : .

    USDA/Wildlife Services conducts disease surveillance activities on feral swine, often in cooperation with State wildlife agencies. The goal of this surveillance is to understand the prevalence of different diseases of concern; those diseases that impact agricultural species or to humans.

    The Fusion Center recently spoke with Dr. Jennifer McDougle of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Dr. McDougle reported that surveillance of feral swine in California has historically shown evidence of pseudorabies infection in these animals, and that recent surveillance has shown an expansion of pseudorabies and brucellosis detection. This increase in brucellosis is very concerning, as it is a zoonotic disease.

    It is advised that you do your best to protect your collections from contact with these animals wherever possible. This includes understanding the risk associated with using these animals as a food source, such as carcass feeding for carnivore enrichment. Employees and volunteers that have contact with or live close to sites where feral swine are within 20 feet of their property should be made aware of the risks and biosecurity through PPE and foot baths should be utilized. Consider isolation and blood testing of new swine additions for pseudorabies and brucellosis.

    To learn more about pseudorabies and brucellosis, great references can be found at the American Association of Zoo Veterinarian’s Infectious Disease Manual
    Or the Iowa State’s Center for Food Security and Public Health
    Feral swine activity can be reported to the USDA using the phone number 1-866-4-USDA-WS.

  • October 1, 2017

    Potential Recovery Resources

    The ZAHP Fusion Center has become aware of some potential resources of assistance (included below) for facilities beginning the long road to recovery from Hurricane Irma. Please note, it is always a Best Practice to discuss liability and compensatory issues in any conversations with individuals providing assistance.  This is true in our industry and others as well. 

    We continue to try and assist you where we can during these trying times for our industry.

    For Volunteers

    • Volunteer Florida – Through the Fusion Center’s relationship with the State Emergency Operations Center, we have found a point person with Volunteer Florida, part of the Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disasters (VOAD).  Volunteer Florida has thousands of volunteers across the state assisting with hurricane relief on some level.  As critical needs for the public are being met, we believe it may be a good time to connect to this organization to see if there is interest in assisting zoological facilities, aquariums, sanctuaries and wildlife rehab centers in basic clean up and recovery tasks.  If your facility may benefit from the assistance of volunteers please contact Ashley Zielinski or Yvonne Nadler with the following information:
      • Name and address of the location requesting assistance
      • List specific needs/tasks that could be accomplished by volunteers.  Photos may help.
      • The name of the POINT PERSON at the affected facility, and their contact information. The Volunteer Florida folks will need to have a facility point person to discuss possible assistance.  ZAHP doesn’t deploy these folks, but we can get needs on their radar screens
      • NOTE: these people are not animal experts, if you are in need of animal care relief, please contact us under a separate email.

    Recovery Resources

    • S. Chamber of Commerce
    • Resource Management and Cost Tracking
      • Basic information provided by Dr. Kevin Dennison,  National Emergency Management Staff Veterinarian, USDA-APHIS Animal Care; includes supplemental resources. 

    Grant Opportunities

    • Animal Grant Makers
      • Gateway to numerous philanthropic organizations committed to supporting animal-related causes. 

    Additional Tools

    • Amazon Wish List
      • This is a great tool to use to get what you need without losing the money you spend on unnecessary fees, admin costs or shipping.


  • September 5, 2017

    Hurricane Resource Management and Cost Tracking

    In the ongoing response to Hurricane Harvey the exotic animal community has gone above and beyond to assist facilities in need, proving once again that helping one another is in our DNA. As the long road to recovery from Harvey begins, Hurricane Irma is now potentially threatening the United States.

    Whether your facility is directly impacted or you are responding to another in need, documentation of assistance is very important.  The following information is very important for responders to Hurricane Harvey, and may be even more important if Irma impacts the US.  Included below are some basics on resource management and cost tracking, provided by Dr. Kevin Dennison of USDA Animal Care. Please note that any specific questions about FEMA should be directed to your local Emergency Management agency.  

    Also included below are links to downloadable to-do lists and tracking documents for anyone that may not have a template readily available, and information on American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMF)’s Disaster Reimbursement Grants.  


    Basics on Resource Management and Cost Tracking 

    Provided by Dr. Kevin Dennison,  National Emergency Management Staff Veterinarian, USDA-APHIS Animal Care  

    Major disasters are complex challenges for local, state, federal and non-governmental response partners. 

    • In major disasters, FEMA may provide direct response support and reimbursement grants (Public Assistance Grants) to eligible applicants for eligible expenses.  Typical cost shares are 75% Federal and 25% State/Local but currently the FEMA is picking up 100% of eligible assistance costs for 30 days, then 90%. 
    • Documentation of all expenses, work and authorization for that work is critical.  This includes documentation that work was part of the official response (such as orders or email communications) and detailed documentation of what work was done, personnel, their positions (veterinarians vs volunteers for example) and any equipment (including vehicles) and supplies used.  You cannot track too much detail on costs!
    • Donations and voluntary efforts, if documented, may sometimes be used towards the State or local cost share.
    • Some non-governmental organizations may be eligible sub-applicants for FEMA.  Local or State emergency management personnel can provide specific insight to eligibility of a non-governmental entity.  As an example, however, a nonprofit organization that operates a zoo on city lands might be considered an eligible sub-applicant.  A nonprofit organization providing emergency sheltering for the county might also be eligible, depending on contracts, agreements and tasking orders.

    The following recommendations should be considered when requesting resources or responding to incident needs:

    1. It is important for locally responding agencies and organizations to request resources through their established jurisdictional Incident Command or through the local Emergency Operations Center.  Any agency or organization sending resources should consider whether they have an official request and if they are working in coordination with their own local emergency management agency.
    2. All personnel should check into the incident.  If not checked into the incident with the appropriate local authorities, there could be safety and accountability concerns and the work might not be eligible to be considered in future cost sharing grant applications. 
    3. Questions on resource requests, credentialing, incident access and responder safety should always include local authorities.  Informal discussion can include a variety of agencies or organizations, but such discussion should not replace those critical resource request, mobilization and check-in processes.
    4. Final guidance on cost tracking and cost eligibility should be directed to local emergency managers.  Local and state emergency managers should consult with FEMA on such issues.

    Checking in personnel, ordering resources, tracking response costs and donations can be critical, even if the organization isn’t eligible for FEMA assistance.  Donors, stakeholders, and organizational managers will need to understand your investment in response!

    Please be safe, communicate clearly, and coordinate with your local and state emergency management authorities!


    AVMF Disaster Reimbursement Grants ...