The Repository of Depravity: Dismembered Animals Line the Shelves of Federal Warehouse

It is hard to describe the array of confiscated animals and animal parts that fills the shelves of the National Wildlife Property Repository, a federal warehouse on the fringes of Denver, Colorado. With multiple representatives of every species imaginable, it seems at first a bit like an ark, but a perverse one: perhaps fittingly so for our precarious ecological situation.

These animals did not walk up the gangplank as in familiar representations of the biblical scene. They arrived lifeless, inanimate: not really animals so much as things. They are arrayed not two-by-two or seven-by-seven, but scores upon scores, even by the hundreds. A fur coat may look like just one leopard, but in fact a dozen were skinned to make it; if you look closely, you can see where one dead creature ends and another begins. Tortoises, snakes, birds, deer (and pieces thereof) line industrial storage shelves from floor to ceiling; even when I climbed up the rolling step ladders, I couldn’t see over the top.

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