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Loan Policy

Requests for loans of herpetological specimens and/or tissues require a formal, hard-copy letter. This letter must be on institutional letterhead, and state exactly which specimens/tissues are being requested and why. Initial inquiries by email (dkizirian@amnh.org) are encouraged.

Loans are made only to institutions under the name of a permanent staff member of that institution, and specimens/tissues must not be moved to another address without prior written permission from the Department of Herpetology. A loan request from a student must be countersigned by the major professor or other responsible staff member who will assume responsibility for the specimens.

No more than one-half of our total specimens of a species will be lent at a time. The remainder may be requested after return of the first loan. All loans including international loans must be returned via UPS, FedEx, or other such high quality carriers with tracking capability (registered/insured priority mail is not acceptable due to legality issues). Very fragile specimens, special preparations, or parts of synoptic collections (e.g., certain skeletal, larval, and hemipenial materials) will not ordinarily be lent. For specimens that cannot be lent, approved researchers may examine them at the AMNH (see Collection Visitation Policy).

Specimens may not be altered in any way without express written permission from the AMNH. Any products of preparation, such as DNA samples, SEM stubs, histological or karyotypic slides, etc., are regarded as part of the specimen and must also be returned unless specifically addressed in writing by the AMNH. Requests for permission to do dissection are not granted routinely but are decided on a case-by-case basis (see Dissection of Specimen Policy).

Loans are normally granted for 6 to 12 months (with a shorter period for types and rare material). Time extensions should be requested in writing before the loan termination date. In the absence of an extension request, a written inquiry will be done by the Department on outstanding loans extending past their termination date. Failure to respond to AMNH inquiries will result in an immediate termination of the loan and call-back of the material.

Loan Policy Conditions 

The following conditions apply to all loans from the department of Herpetology:

  1. All borrowed specimens must be stored to professionally accepted standards, including for AMNH specimens, amphibians and reptiles in 70% ethanol unless otherwise noted.
  2. Loans are made to institutions, not individuals; therefore, specimens are not to be moved to another address without prior written permission from the AMNH.
  3. Loan specimens may not be altered or dissected in any way without express written permission from the AMNH (if needed, see Dissection of Specimen Policy).
  4. Loans are to be returned before the loan termination date. Requests for time extensions should be done in writing before this date. A written inquiry will be done by the AMNH on outstanding loans extending past their termination date. Failure to respond to these AMNH inquiries will result in an immediate termination of the loan and call-back of specimens.
  5. Products of preparation, such as SEM stubs, histological or karyotypic slides, etc., are regarded as part of the specimens and must also be returned unless the loan agreement specifies otherwise.
  6. Specimens being returned should be carefully packed in the same manner in which they were sent. All returns minimally must be sent via UPS, FedEx, or other such high quality carriers with tracking capability (no insured, registered nor priority mail).
  7. Original specimen labels or tags may not be cut off or revised in any way. Any suggested change(s) in specimen ID or data should be submitted in writing or noted on the AMNH invoice.
  8. The borrower is requested to provide 2 copies of any publication resulting in part or whole from this loan.

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