A look inside the government-owned house of horrors

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A Look Inside The Government-Owned House Of Horrors


Taxidermied polar bears, seahorse key chains, and a tiger fetus.

Thus begins the tour of the National Wildlife Property Repository outside of Denver, Colorado. It's an innocuous name for the warehouse with the nation's most grotesque collection of illegally obtained animals and animal objects.

The animals, in whole or in part, have all been confiscated after attempted importation into the United States. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees the 22,000 square foot facility which is located near an abandoned airport.

The items are either stored, destroyed or donated to scientific, educational, and conservation organizations.

See more from inside the warehouse:

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National Wildlife Property Repository
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A look inside the government-owned house of horrors
COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO--JUNE 24, 2005--Bernadette Atencio , administrator of the National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository in Commerce City. Wildlife Repository Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, displays a variety of seized wildlife parts and skins that are confiscated all over the nation and brought to the repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to be stored, destroyed, or (as in the case of all these items) used for educational purposes. Some of the materials, such as the snake skin boots in the foreground, were attempted to be smuggled illegally by disguising them with a suede cover. The stuffed polar bear was donated by a collector. Other items include a dwarf crocodile skin purse, right, and an iguana skin belt, foreground. (GLENN ASAKAWA/THE DENVER POST) (Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO--JUNE 24, 2005--Bernadette Atencio , administrator of the National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository in Commerce City. Wildlife Repository Specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, stands next to a confiscated rhinoceros head that is part of a collection of seized wildlife parts, skins, clothing, artwork, curios and jewelry that are confiscated all over the nation and brought to the repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to be stored, destroyed, or used for educational purposes. Atencio did not know where or how the rhino head found it's way to the repository but that it's been used for educational purposes for at least 10 years. (GLENN ASAKAWA/THE DENVER POST) (Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO--JUNE 24, 2005--Shelves full of snakeskin boots at the National Eagle and Wildlife Property Repository in Commerce City are collected with a variety of other seized wildlife parts, skins, jewelry, artwork and curios that are confiscated all over the nation and brought to the repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal to be stored, destroyed, or used for educational purposes. (GLENN ASAKAWA/THE DENVER POST) (Photo By Glenn Asakawa/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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The warehouse contains the remains of over 1.5 million animals and receives new items every day; casualties of the multibillion dollar trade in illegal wildlife -- which has been termed an "international crisis" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, a large percentage of the trade is initiated by Asian buyers who pay upwards of $30,000 per pound of rhino horn which are used in medicines and to signify newfound wealth and status.

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