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.

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.

Getting Started 

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

Contact Us

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

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.


ZAHP Updates

  • 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 ...

  • August 28, 2017

    Hurricane Updates

    Irma Update: 9/7/17

    As Hurricane Irma continues its path towards Florida, we wanted to take this opportunity to share the below contact information and resources.  The latest information on Irma’s path is available on the National Hurricane Center’s site here:  

    Please remember that disasters begin and end locally! If you have an animal welfare need in the wake of Irma you will need to request assistance through your county emergency manager. A list of emergency managers by county, with county websites and phone numbers, is available here:; this information is also available in map form.   The state of Florida has already activated the  group responsible for assisting with animal welfare needs throughout disasters in the statewide Emergency Operations Center (SEOC), and requests for assistance made to county EOCs will be elevated to the state level as needed.    

    Anyone needing assistance with a captive wildlife issue can also reach out to their Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) captive wildlife investigator. Investigators have already been reaching out to coastal areas on the eastern side of the state and offering  assistance to facilities who need it.  If you do not have direct contact information available  you can call the main FWC Captive Wildlife Office at 850-488-6523. 

    Animal Welfare Act (AWA) regulated facilities in south Florida have already been contacted by their inspector to assess status ahead of impact; these facilities have been instructed to communicate needs and report on the status and safety of staff and animals by calling or texting  the designated 24/7 telephone number:  919.923.0573.  

    We are closely monitoring this event, and welcome you to contact us if you have any questions or feel we may otherwise be of assistance to you at this time.  If you are planning to assist an impacted facility or would like to offer assistance, that information can be sent to ZAHP Fusion Center staff :  Ashley Zielinski, Yvonne Nadler, and Steve Olson. This information will be recorded to minimize duplication of efforts should an animal welfare need arise. 

    Additional Resources:

    Stay safe everyone!

    Harvey Update 8/28/17 

    I’m sure you recognize that the flooding in Texas is unprecedented; an 800-year flood. 

    First responders are focusing on human needs, and while many of you in the path have prepared and have so far weathered this storm, unmet needs are just now being recognized for animals in disasters.  A huge shout out to those who have already stepped up to assist facilities in need.  Locals helping locals, that is the quickest way to get things done.

    The ZAHP Fusion Center has been asked by the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC )to assist on a task force to assist with all animal issues.  The task force includes the TAHC, ESF 11, NGOs, etc with a great boots-on-the-ground AC inspector Dr. Elizabeth Pannill. I would ask the following from this community:

    • If you have or know of ANY unmet needs, are potentially able to help with equipment or service, or have already assisted a facility and have details that should be communicated to the TAHC please call the TAHC’s Animal Response Operation Coordination Center (AROCC) hotline:  (512)-719-0799. 
    • Information, questions, and concerns can also be sent to ZAHP Fusion Center staff:  Ashley Zielinski ( and Steve Olson (  We need to assist with coordination to prevent duplication of ...
  • August 21, 2017

    Hurricane Season, Carfentanil, Zoo Ready, and National Preparedness Month

    Included below is an update on the current Atlantic hurricane season,  a debrief from the recent Zoo Ready meeting for Veterinary Services district 4, information regarding the role of carfentanil in the US opioid crisis, and an announcement regarding National Preparedness Month. If you have any questions about the material provided or suggestions for future content please contact us. 


    Updated: Hurricane Season Outlook

    As we enter the peak months (August – October) of the Atlantic’s hurricane season, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has updated their outlook ( ) to predict a 60% chance of an above normal hurricane season, up from the 45% chance predicted in May.  This updated outlook predicts a 70% chance of each of the following:   14 – 19 named storms ( including 6 named storms so far this season),  5 – 9 hurricanes, 2- 5 major hurricanes,  Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) of 100%-170% of the median (including the ACE of the 6 named storms so far this season).  With this update there is a 30% chance that the Atlantic will have a normal hurricane season, and only a 10% chance of a below normal season.  There is no official outlook on landfalls of these storms as that will be dependent on daily weather patterns.

    Up to date news, predictions and advisories regarding tropical storms can be seen on the National Hurricane Center site,  Safety tips and resources to assist you in preparing for a hurricane can be found here: .


    Zoo Ready: District 4 Meeting Debrief

    In June the ZAHP Fusion Center traveled to Austin, TX to conduct the  Zoo Ready meeting for Veterinary Services District 4, focusing on enhancing foreign animal disease response communication channels,  with an additional one-day workshop on Contingency Planning for the Exotic Animal Industry.  Beyond being a learning experience,  these well attended meetings  gave participants from over 30 exotic wildlife facilities the valuable opportunity to connect with their state regulatory officials, federal agency and program representatives, and leadership from various wildlife associations.  This 3-day meeting was highly successful, with a more diverse audience of exhibitors than ever before and participant feedback consistently citing the value of having regulatory and industry partners in the same room to discuss the potential impacts of disease and disaster.  Thank you to the Texas Disposal System’s Exotic Wildlife Ranch for  generously hosting this meeting!


    Carfentanil Information

    The United States opioid crisis continues, with 6 states and 4 tribal nations declaring public health emergencies to date.  The usage of fentanyl has been covered frequently in the news because coming into contact with even trace amounts can cause a potentially fatal overdose. This issue caused the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to issue a warning to first responders on the dangers of fentanyl exposure.  Those of you in the exotic animal industry are likely familiar with carfentanil, a 100 times more powerful analog of fentanyl used by veterinarians to anesthetize large mammals such as elephants and rhinos.  Carfentanil has been discovered in opioids sold on the street for recreational use and has been implicated in human exposures and deaths.  Veterinarians that have worked with this drug understand the risk, undergo training with regards to handling the drug and are careful to take the necessary precautions to prevent accidental exposure.

    According to Wildlife Pharmaceuticals USA, the supplier for many of the anesthetic agents used by zoo and wildlife veterinarians, there is currently NO legal supply of carfentanil for the United States.  In discussion with the Food and Drug Administration, Wildlife Pharmaceuticals voluntarily agreed  to withdraw its FDA approval of carfentanil 19 July 2017 due to this potential for misuse. 

    Carfentanil ...