Did you know that the global pet trade threatens biodiversity and can negatively impact human health and the economy? It has the potential to accelerate the spread of invasive alien species around the world. The exotic pet trade is responsible for transporting reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds across various regions to be bought as pets. Supplying the correct information about these animals to potential owners can help prevent the introduction of alien species into the ecosystem.
Biosecurity is a form of protection against invasive alien species that uses an integrated approach that includes regulatory and policy frameworks for managing and analyzing relevant risks to plant, animal, and human life and health, including risks to the environment and biodiversity. In a pet store, especially an online store, some sellers sell a variety of non-native species without any warning about their potential to be invasive species. Read more about this in our policy brief ‘Improving Biosecurity will safeguard our Health, Economy, and Irreplaceable Biodiversity.’
Across the globe, a wide variety of species are sold for use in aquaria. ‘’One-third of aquatic invasive species identified in the world have been identified aquarium or ornamental releases,’’ according to a recent report from the Convention on Biological Diversity. Aquariums can act as a pathway for alien species, as dumping the contents of an aquarium into a waterbody inadvertently introduces a non-native species to the natural environment. To prevent the release of non-native species one can, desist from purchasing, selling, or trading them. Read more about marine invasive pathways and our tagged marine species in our policy brief, ‘’ Prevention and Management of Marine invasive alien Species in the Caribbean.’’
Also, when people decide to clean or get rid of aquariums and dump the contents into a waterbody, they are introducing those species to the natural environment, which can disrupt it. If you are an aquarium owner, you can help prevent the spread of invasive species by disposing of aquarium contents responsibly and avoiding the purchasing, selling, trade, or releasing non-native species.
Read more from our sources below!
Policy Brief – Improving Biosecurity will safeguard our Health, Economy, and Irreplaceable Biodiversity
Policy Brief – Prevention and Management of Marine invasive alien Species in the Caribbean
USGS – Invasive Zebra Mussels Found in Pet Stores in 21 States
Washington Invasive Species Council – Aquariums and Pets
PNAS – Invasiveness is linked to greater commercial success in the global pet trade