Apart from the obvious economic benefits posed by the global wildlife trade, which generates billions of dollars in revenue within source and destination countries, there exists wide-ranging potential for negative impacts. The sale of wild animals as pets is growing more common as demand for exotic pets such as unique reptiles, birds and mammals, is growing. Unfortunately, the overharvesting of animals for the pet trade can potentially result in the extinction of species. Furthermore, the introduction of non-native species and diseases through wildlife trade represents a serious threat to native wildlife and human health.
EcoHealth Alliance's Response
PetWatch is a first-of-its-kind consumer information program developed from scientific research on global wildlife trade into the U.S. Its goal is to protect natural resources, native wildlife, global diversity, and public health by offering consumers a science-based list of Best, Worst and Fair choices of exotic pet options to choose for your family and home. PetWatch promotes safe pet choices for major taxonomic groups including mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish, and birds. PetWatch is a tool for consumers to make an informed decision on the purchase of exotic animals based on established criteria for sustainability, invasion threats, animal welfare and public health concerns.
The PetWatch website was successfully launched in May 2011, and has since received favorable mention on various veterinary, and pet-related websites throughout the internet. Several pet magazines have written about PetWatch, mentioning our popular wallet card as a handy, portable way to remind consumers about the important facts when making exotic pet purchases. In addition to our website and wallet card, the PetWatch iPhone application was launched to engage children in a fun way to make smart and responsible exotic pet choices.
Consulting Senior Scientist
PhD, Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology
Executive Vice President for Health and Policy
Associate Director of Health and Policy