Don't Buy It

Hundreds of animal species face extinction in the wild. These animals are victim to a variety of threats, including poaching and loss of habitat. You can help protect these species by refusing to purchase them or any products made from them. Before you buy an animal product, check whether the species is in danger of extinction.

Wildlife that is OK to Buy in the United States

This checklist represents a sampling of those species and products available in the U.S. that in general are not endangering wildlife populations. Not all species and products are listed - there isn't room! If you are in doubt about a particular item, don't buy it!

Leather Products

  • American alligator
  • ranched crocodile
  • ostrich
  • tegu lizard

Other Wildlife Products

  • feather ornaments, down clothing, or other items made from feathers of domesticated birds
  • mink oil
  • cultured pearls
  • ranched furs

Pets

  • cockatiels
  • zebra finches
  • freshwater captive-bred tropical fish

Wildlife to Watch Out for or Avoid Buying in the U.S.

This checklist includes some of those items commonly for sale in the U.S. that often enter the country illegally or represent excessive trade that is unsustainable.

Leather Products

  • "alligator" and "crocodile" -- shoes, belts, purses, and other products marketed as "alligator" or "crocodile" are often actually made from caiman, which live in Latin America. Caiman products are illegal. Most consumers will be unable to tell the difference. Buy only those products labeled "genuine American alligator" or "ranched crocodile."
  • snake and lizard

Other Wildlife Product

  • coral -- tons of coral are ripped out of the oceans every year to supply jewelry and trinkets.
  • ivory -- all elephant ivory is now illegal to import into the U.S.

Pets

  • exotic mammals
  • most South American macaws and cockatoos
  • marine tropical fish
  • hermit crabs -- none are captive bred in quantities large enough for commercial trade
  • tarantulas -- none are captive bred in quantities large enough for commercial trade.

Do it for the Animals!

While it's often illegal to purchase products made from animals in danger of extinction, there is another reason to avoid these products: it helps protect the animals.

So if you're faced with the decision of whether or not to buy an animal product, check first to see whether the species is in danger of extinction or warrants legal protection. By avoiding such animal products, you are helping protect wildlife.