Add a "Pet" or "Escapee" Status


I’ve seen in some cases that an obviously non-captive animal, such as a Domestic Budgerigar, is labelled as ‘Captive/Cultivated’.
Although we do have the observation field ‘Escapee/Non-established’, not everyone knows how to implement that onto their observation.
iNaturalist currently has “N” for native, ‘E’ for endemic, and ‘I’ for invasive. An ‘EP’ for ‘Escaped Pet’ would be handy.

The label would be meant for non-established animals in a region, rather than have it automatically show up, it could be an option when uploading the observation, next to the ‘captive/cultivated’. Though it would be an escaped pet, it would stay research grade.



i think it would be interesting if that kind of special status could help feed stuff over to local animal welfare groups. people might think to check the local shelter for pets but maybe not iNaturalist. honestly though, i think a lot of the pets that i see in wild places are dumped there (like this:, though I’ve seen others that maybe people lost (



“I” is actually for “Introduced,” meaning it arrived there due to human activities, which probably applies to an escaped pet, though there has been some debate elsewhere on that topic…



There are a few cases where the animal is clearly an escaped/released pet, but no introduced status:



By escaped pet do you also mean feral? Or that I see Sam’s dog that jumped the fence yesterday?



Here is the observation of an escaped cage bird. Someone marked it as not wild. An escapee status would be a better fit.



I personally think if they are not reproducing they should be marked as captive even if they are flying loose. This should go along with the idea that captive observations are fine and are not less valuable than other ones. But it isn’t a sustaining population, so i personally don’t see the point of having a more complicated system with yet another option. And in any event, if you did this wouldn’t any plant that was planted in the ground be kind of the same? you aren’t keeping it on a leash. And a dog running through the woods 500 m from its person chasing animals is going to have the same effect as a dog that jumped a fence and ran 500 m into the woods chasing animals, right?

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By marking non-captive escapees as captive and making the obs. casual, it will be much harder to find lesser-known species that could possibly be established/get established in an area.
Torossian Imperial-Pigeons in Nassau, the Bahamas
Blackbuck Antelope in Texas, U.S.
Darwin’s Rhea in Germany
etc. etc. etc.



It has no impact on the ability to track or find this, the records are not hidden, deleted or unavailable in any way. They simply require a different search parameter.

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yeah and really, whether a single animal is escaped or not may not be that important. If someone has a massive mongoose farm on an island or something… just because they have not yet been documented escaping doesn’t mean they won’t. I think itw ould be nice to set up a way (perhaps via a field) to track captuve/cultivated organisms that are likely to be a source for new invasions. This comes up often with landscape plants which are even more likely to escape than captive animals since they just throw seeds everywhere



So theoretically, anything in a place known not to be part of its “natural” range (however one defines that) can/should be shown as Introduced. But there is some work involved to make that happen. Anyone can do it. See this recent flag for the steps. (Or you can just flag the species in question for curation, as that user did.)

Just be aware that if you list Green-cheeked Parakeet as Introduced for, say, the State of Texas, that will apply to any and every occurrence of that species in Texas. If you are not sure about that, choose a smaller place (County, for example) for which you are sure.



This seems like it could be solved with an Observation Field rather than a systemic change, so I’m going to close this topic.


closed #14