Our mission – PetWatch, a program of EcoHealth Alliance, provides consumers with a science-based list of the Best, Fair and Worst choices of exotic pets based on extensive research aimed at protecting native wildlife and resources, global biodiversity and public health. PetWatch is a first-of-its-kind consumer information program founded on scientific evidence that promotes safe pet purchases for all major animal groups including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and birds.
About the Rankings
The program began by examining the top 10 species of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians imported to the U.S. for sale in the national pet trade. These species were identified using U.S. Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement Management Information System data on live animals imported into the U.S. Our long term goal is to review and rank additional species that are sold as pets in the U.S. but to do this we need your help – please consider making a donation today to help us achieve this goal.
For each pet species ranked our team conducted searches on general, popular, industry and academic databases to acquire information on the following four criteria used to rank the animal.
- Source Sustainability: What is the state of the species’ wild populations and what are the impacts resulting from the harvest for wildlife trade?
- Invasion Threat: What is the likelihood that the species will become invasive in the U.S. and negatively impact the environment, native wildlife, livestock, agriculture, and/or the economy?
- Animal Welfare: What evidence of negative impacts to wildlife results from pet industry practices, including actions at any point along the trade route or as a result of life-long captivity?
- Health Threat: What is the likelihood that the species poses a health risk to native wildlife, humans, livestock or agriculture in the United States? Health threats include harmful infectious agents (pathogens and parasites) as well as non-infectious threats that lead to injury such as bites and stings.