About Us


James Whipple founded Northeastern Wildlife in March of 1987 with the objective of providing a source of “non-traditional” animal models of human disease. The first animal model established was the woodchuck (Marmota monax) as an animal model for Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) studies and hibernation research. This was followed by the introduction of opossums for pancreatitis and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) research. In 1991, Northeastern Wildlife became a USDA licensed research facility and has since performed numerous protocols for both the public and private sectors. Since our founding, we have supplied most of the woodchucks used in international studies.

Mission and Vision

Often, we hear of the promise of new pharmaceutical compounds being discovered in nature. Our objective is to find new animal models of human diseases by discovering wildlife which harbor similar diseases and other unique adaptations which could benefit mankind. We offer quality, professional and personal service at a reasonable cost. Still, this research can be cost-prohibitive especially to smaller biotech startups and basic research institutions. For those with few resources, we offer joint initiatives and grant opportunities, as our resources allow.


Northeastern Wildlife has over 75 years of collective wildlife research experience. James and Elizabeth Whipple each have over 20 years experience with the woodchuck as an animal model of HBV infection. This experience began at the NIH NIAID contract woodchuck facility located at Cornell University in Ithaca NY. At Cornell, both were responsible for the gathering of research data establishing the woodchuck as an animal model of HBV infection and were involved with some of the first anti-viral studies.

In March of 1987, Mr. Whipple founded Northeastern Wildlife. In 1990, he created the first commercial captive born, bred and infected woodchucks for research. Since that time, he has supplied thousands of woodchucks for anti-viral studies worldwide. Most of the international studies involving WHV have been performed with his woodchucks.

In 1991, Mr. Whipple licensed Northeastern Wildlife as a USDA research facility. The purpose was to provide his technical expertise for anti-viral studies. Since then, he has been responsible for and performed numerous protocols. Mr. Whipple is responsible for all aspects of these projects including data collection and administrative duties.

Mr. Whipple also has been involved utilizing the woodchuck as an animal model for hibernation studies. He established one of the only commercial hibernaculums in North America. Mr. Whipple established a supply of opossums (Didelphis virginiannis) for the study of spinal injuries, pancreatitis and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) dysfunction. Other past animal models include blacktail prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) for cholesterol and kidney stone formation studies and cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus transitionalis) for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) studies

Since 1987, James and Elizabeth Whipple have built upon this broad foundation to become the most experienced technical team available for HBV anti-viral studies and hibernation studies using woodchucks.


Northeastern Wildlife is located on 30 acres of farmland overlooking the St. Joe river valley in beautiful Northern Idaho. World renowned fly fishing, skiing, wilderness and National Parks are close by. Our facilities consist of 3000 square feet of research, surgery and laboratory space.