This Is Where Confiscated Wildlife Items Go To Die Another Death

Don't be fooled by the building's unremarkable exterior; inside this staid warehouse northeast of Denver resides one of the world's largest concentrations of items from the illegal wildlife trade.

The 22,000-square-foot warehouse, officially called the "National Wildlife Property Repository," belongs to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and contains upward of a million items, ranging from ivory and furs to stuffed tiger fetuses. In a video published Tuesday, The Atlantic offered a revealing look inside the repository, in addition to the National Eagle Repository next door.

Some of the items are destroyed after arriving at the repository -- including nearly 6 tons of ivory which were crushed at a high-profile event last year -- while other artifacts live on in conservation agencies, to be used as instructional tools in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.

"People will buy just about anything," says Doni Sprague, a wildlife repository specialist, reflecting on the devastating range of artifacts in the warehouse. "If you can imagine it, it's probably here in some form or another."

"In the past decade," writes the Fish and Wildlife Service, "wildlife trafficking has escalated into an international crisis."

While the volume of illegal wildlife trafficking is, by its very nature, difficult to measure, a 2013 report by the Congressional Research Service estimated the trade is worth between $7 billion and $10 billion annually.

WATCH the video, above.



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