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International Species Information System (ISIS)
Information Agency or Museum
Web Site:

Director: Nathan R. Flesness
Phone: 1 (612) 431-9295   Fax: 1 (612) 431-2757   E-Mail:
12101 Johnny Cake Ridge Road, Apple Valley, Minnesota 55124 UNITED STATES
Affiliations: Independent International non-profit; affiliated with regional zooorganizations worldwide.

Mission: ISIS is a computer-based information system for wild animal species in captivity. This pooled database now includes information on over 231,000 living vertebrate specimens, plus a greater number of their ancestors, in more than 482 institutions in 54 countries. Coverage of North America and Australasia is very good, coverage of Europe is expanding, and institutions in Latin America, Asia and Africa also participate. ISIS offers services of immediate use to zoological institutions, and is building an accessible archive of the data needed for the longer term.

Principal Research Programs: Continued operation of a central pooled specimen information database, producing routine pooled inventories and other reports on request. This database now contains information on over 750,000 specimens of over 5,700 species of vertebrates, held or once held by nearly 500 ISIS-member institutions from 54 countries on 6 continents. Nearly 200,000 currently living specimens are registerd. Most ISIS members are zoological parks or aquariums, but some primate research centers are involved. Information held includes (when available) specimen parentage, move history, birth and death dates; pooled veterinary information on normal clinical chemistry and hematology, and limited pooled anesthesia information.; Developing collection management information systems for our members. ISIS offers three PC software tools: ARKS (Animal Records Keeping System) is used by over 400 member institutions for basic specimen records, MedARKS (Medical Animal Records Keeping System) is used by over 250 members for veterinary records, and SPARKS (Single Population Animal Records Keeping System) is used by over 250 members for veterinary records, and for maintaining studbooks, performing genetic and demographic analyses on studbook datasets, and for organizing cooperative multi-institutional Species Survival Plans.; Assisting NIH and NIH-funded chimpanzee breeding and research facilities with sound long-term demographic and genetic management of the U.S. captive research chimpanzee population, for which ISIS acts as the studbook keeper.

Publications: "ISIS Abstracts" (semi-annual)

Comments: ISIS welcomes member institutions willing to share their information and pay modest annual dues to be part of the network. ISIS cooperates closely with the IUCN/SSC/Captive Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG), whose headquarters are adjacent to ours.

Last Updated: 2002-05-08

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