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INVASIVE ALIEN PETS SOLD IN STORES

The results obtained during the Invasive Alien Species National Survey indicate that 10% of the species of fauna currently registered in the Invasive Alien Species National Database have been introduced for ornamental purposes and as pets. According to article 31st of the Environmental Crime Laws, the introduction of alien species without any technical feedback favorable is considered a crime, punished by detention and fines.

Species such as the red-eared-slider-terrapin (Trachemys scripta elegans), the siamese-fighting-fish (Betta splendens), the red-swamp-crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) and the african-clawed-frog (Xenopus laevis), among other species, are usually found in petshops and aquarium stores, being sold as pets. The breeding and sale of red-eared-sliders and the african-clawed-frogs are prohibited by law because, according to IBAMA, there are no authorized breeders in Brazil. According to article 29 of the Environmental Crime Laws,

the sale of species from non-registered breeders is considered a crime, punished by imprisonment.

Pets sale can be a very lucrative business; however, the risks associated with releasing these animals in the natural environment are not known to the general public. The lack of attention to this problem can result in serious detriment to biodiversity and to natural habitats. After being released in the wild, invasive alien animals outcompete native species, prey on native species, alter the natural interactions between flora and
fauna, and can carry diseases to humans and other animals. They may ultimately cause species to become extinct, and that has serious effects to native animals and plants.

The selling of invasive alien fauna as pets is also encouraged by illegal wild life smuggling. Species such as the black–eared–tufted–marmoset (Callithrix penicillata), native to the central–western regions of Brazil, are commonly captured and sold as pets. Wildlife smuggling is considered a crime according to environmental law, punished by three months to a year detention, depending on the harm inflicted on the animal.

Even then these impacts can be mitigated. Information and public
awareness are powerful tools that must be used to reduce the spread of invasive species.

Recognizing that this is a fairly new topic in Brazil and that information is not readily available to the public, The Nature Conservancy (TNC), the Horus Institute, Renctas (Nationwide Network Against Wildlife Smuggling) and the General Fauna Coordination of the Federal Environmental Agency in Brazil are leading an iniciative to inform pet store owners, veterinaries and customers in the stores that market invasive alien fauna about the risks associated with the release of such animals into the wild. One of the main goals is to form a network that would

qualify stores to select species presenting the least environmental threat, ultimately informing customers about the possible impacts in case of release into the wild.

List of Minutes and others documents about the iniciative:

- July 19, 2006 - Lecture on invasive pets that threaten biodiversity - (PDF 97KB) - Portuguese

- August 09, 2006 - Meeting on invasive pets that threaten biodiversity - (PDF 90KB)- Portuguese

- September 04, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 253KB)- Portuguese

- September 28, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 253KB)- Portuguese

- October 10, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 231KB)- Portuguese

- October 30, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 211KB)- Portuguese

- November 28, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 211KB) - Portuguese

- December 19, 2006 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 136KB) - Portuguese

- Junuary 25, 2007 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 133KB) - Portuguese

- February 14, 2007 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 104KB) - Portuguese

- February 22, 2007 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 102KB) - Portuguese

- March 01, 2007 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 50KB) - Portuguese

- March 06, 2007 - Minutes of meeting - (PDF 118KB) - Portuguese

- March 2007 - Voluntary Codes of Conduct - (PDF 299KB) - Portuguese

- March 2007 - Agreement for voluntary codes of conduct - (PDF 1004KB) - Portuguese

Contact us: invasoraspets@tnc.org

DOWNLOAD OUR FOLDER (Portuguese - PDF 1.9Mb)

LIST OF INVASIVE ANIMAL SPECIES


THE BRAZILIAN LAW ON ENVIRONMENTAL CRIMES
(Portuguese)