Sponsor an Animal: Top 10 Ways To Adopt a Wild Animal

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Animals | March 29, 2023

Man standing in a group of animals wonders if there are organizations that help people sponsor an animal and explain how to adopt a wild animal and wwf adopt an animal options.

With more than 40,000 endangered species and over 50 animals that will be extinct by 2050, understanding how to sponsor an animal and adopt a wild animal for protection is a great way to help.

Charities and concerned groups are doing their part but need all the help they can get.

Fortunately, there are a number of organizations that offer wild animal sponsorship, which help protect the environments where these animals live.

One recent win is that after being extinct in India for over 70 years, Cheetahs are being repopulated in that country, renewing the diversity it originally had.

The guide examines some of the most effective ways to sponsor an animal right now.

Top 10 Ways To Adopt a Wild Animal (Sponsor an Animal)


8 Billion Trees

8 Billion Trees is a carbon offset company that runs large-scale planting operations in the Amazon Rainforest.


World Wildlife Fund

WWF works to sustain the natural world for the benefit of people and wildlife, collaborating with partners from local to global levels in nearly 100 countries.


Galapagos Conservancy

Galapagos Conservancy advocates for the lasting protection of the Galapagos Islands through programs of constituency building, education, and fundraising in North America.


Born Free Foundation

Born Free is a wildlife conservation charity that’s passionate about wild animal welfare.


National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation works across the country to unite Americans from all walks of life in giving wildlife a voice.


Oceanic Society: Sea Turtle Conservation

Oceanic Society is a California-based 501 non-profit organization dedicated to conserving marine wildlife and habitats by deepening the connections between people and nature.


Polar Bears International

Polar Bears International is a non-profit polar bear conservation organization. Their research, education, and action programs address the issues that are endangering polar bears.


Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.


International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

The International Union for Conservation of Nature is an international organization working in the field of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources.


Project AWARE Foundation

Project AWARE is a non-profit organization and a global force of divers working to protect the ocean planet in more than 175 countries and territories.

Top 10 Ways To Adopt a Wild Animal (Sponsor an Animal)

The following are some of the best places to start if you want to support charities and concerned groups to help save endangered species.

#1: 8 Billion Trees

8 billion trees has one goal in mind, healing the planet, and you can learn more about its programs from its website and social media pages.

It is famous for its focus on tree planting and conservation and, by extension, guarding natural habitats.

It was founded in 2018 by Jon Chambers, and the goal is to plant and guard 8 billion trees. In line with its mission, the organization fights deforestation and educates the locals on the importance of tree planting.

Besides tree planting initiatives, it also cares for abandoned and abused animals in clinics, wildlife sanctuaries and deforested regions. It has been successful in various countries worldwide, including Nepal, Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia, Kenya, and several countries.

(Image: World Wildlife Fund23)

#2: World Wildlife Fund (WWF Adopt an Animal)

Since its founding in 1961, World Wildlife Fund is widely known as a leading wildlife conservation charity,10 protecting endangered species in almost 100 countries.

Their adoption centers spearhead fundraising to keep at-risk animals in their natural homes and allow the public to make a difference in an animal’s life.

If you want to participate, you can symbolically sponsor an animal keeping a species safe when in the wild.5 This initiative doesn’t support one animal; instead, it helps defend against threats to the survival of its species, like habitat loss and climate change.

For decades, WWF has fought for habitat protection, guarding the species that depend on them for survival. It has raised millions of dollars to support endangered species like the black rhino in Kenya, and other animals across the planet.

#3: Galapagos Conservancy

If you prefer supporting nonprofits that focus on particular projects, the Galapagos conservancy will be a favorite charity.

Since 1985, it has grown to be the largest funding source for conserving the Galapagos islands.

(Image: Galapagos Conservancy15)

It is the only US organization dedicated to the task and has proven that it is committed to its mission thanks to its achievements over the years. It has initiated several programs for the locals and builds on Charles Darwin’s research to help restore tortoise species believed to have lived on the islands.

(Image: Born Free16)

#4: Born Free Foundation

This foundation was founded in 1966 as a charity to protect animals from abuse while in captivity.

It has become a famous welfare organization that helps end wild animal abuse.

It sets up campaigns in various countries and advocates for legislative measures to end wildlife trade.

It often rescues endangered animals living in unfavorable conditions and takes them to its 14 sanctuaries, where they receive the best care from experts and get the freedom they previously lacked. They understand what happens if the animal is released or passes away in captivity without proper care.

The body also sets up field programs for lions, jaguars and other wild animals and implements livestock protection initiatives for the locals. Born Free has successfully operated animal sanctuaries, community programs and other general conservation projects in more than 20 countries worldwide.

#5: National Wildlife Federation

The National Wildlife Federation started operations in 1936 and is currently one of the most renowned conservation movements in the United States.9 Its mission is to heal the country’s crucial habitats of endangered species.

(Image: National Wildlife Federation17)

It helps reverse the declining wildlife population by protecting their natural habitats and paving the way for more wildlife species to thrive. It does this through its Adopt a Wildlife Acre project, ensuring the ecosystem is safe for the present animal population and the coming generations.

Besides, the organization backs legislation to guard endangered animal species like mule deer and red wolves. Another exciting program is its Ranger Rick movement, which helps inspire the upcoming generation of activists and conservationists.

(Image: Oceanic Society18)

#6: Oceanic Society: Sea Turtle Conservation

If you are a sea lover and always want to keep marine creatures safe, sea turtle conservation is the best charity to promote. Sea turtles are some of the most endangered species, and the organization allows you to track the particular animal you sponsor.

You can symbolically adopt one for yourself or as a gift to a turtle lover. The adoption pack features an adoption certificate, hatchling magnet, sticker and several other exciting items at a starting cost of $30.1

You will also get the turtle’s tracking number, where you can see its location online, wherever it goes.

#7: Polar Bears International

Polar bears are massive creatures, weighing over a thousand pounds and growing to over nine feet tall.

They are the largest bear in the world and are considered marine mammals.

(Image: Polar Bears International19)

Unfortunately, they are one of the hardest hit by global warming, but Polar Bears International is here to help.

With about $25, you can adopt this species and track it from the organization’s website, which lists all the bears it monitors. You can also buy one of its merchandise to channel proceeds to the foundation.

(Image: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust20)

#8: Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

The organization was founded in 1977 solely to protect Kenya’s endangered wildlife.

Thanks to successfully establishing an elephant sanctuary and engaging in other activities with the locals, it is now famous for its efforts.

It defends the forest from poachers, attends to wounded and sick wild animals and helps settle human-wildlife conflict among Kenyan communities. The Orphan Project is their most renowned initiative, where the foundation rescues abandoned elephants and rhinos.

The skilled staff cares for the animals and raises them until they are old enough to go back into the wild. The trust has rescued more than 200 elephants and 17 rhinos in the country and removed traps from the forest.

#9: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

The IUCN is a global leader when it comes to matters of plant and animal conservation.7

(Image: International Union for Conservation of Nature21)

It is one of the first foundations dedicated to solving environmental issues and enjoys support from over 185 countries from various continents.

Additionally, it undertakes thousands of projects worldwide that have been successful over the years. It has helped save elephants, lions, crocodiles, leopards, Bengal tigers, penguins, and several other endangered species.

What differentiates it from other organizations is its involvement in various fields, from business and global policy to gender and other emerging issues; you can make a huge difference by participating in their environmental initiatives or any other program.

(Image: Project Aware22)

#10: Project AWARE Foundation

Project AWARE focuses on conserving wild animals in the world’s oceans.

It has been operating successfully for the past two decades but boasts two main projects, protecting sharks and preventing ocean pollution.​

Sharks in Peril project supports endangered shark species, while Diving against Debris backs pollution-free ocean endeavors.2 You can join the initiatives if you are a diver or love marine animals and want to see them safe.

There is also an online community that brings together people from all over the world for a just cause.

What Is a Wildlife Adoption Program?

One of the negative effects of climate change is the endangerment and extinction of animal species. Lobby groups have come forward to defend the planet by initiating conservation measures to keep wild animals safe in their natural habitats.

You can sponsor an animal to participate in these activities, but only a few know what the programs entail. Organizations focus on the symbolic adoption of some endangered species and allow the public to make one-time, monthly, or annual donations toward efforts to save them.

Photo of a group of elephants while on a roam.

(Image: Poswiecie11)

Mostly, you pick an animal and receive their identification details, name and photos, but everything depends on the organization’s methods. Others are symbolic, where you donate to a whole species, while others send you souvenirs like stuffed animals.3

Are ‘Sponsor an Animal’ Programs Legitimate?

When you sponsor an animal, you provide vital funds to look after it, especially for animals in sanctuaries that need 24/7 care. However, conducting thorough research on the project is crucial to avoid falling for malicious schemes.

You can find a reputable non-profit group with a proven track record of plant and animal conservation. Before you make any donation, it helps to confirm that the organization exists and has been present and working for a long time.

If you care about the environment, you will find such initiatives worth signing up for since they are personal, and all proceeds go to a just cause.

How To Select the Best Charity To Adopt an Animal

While various wildlife conservation organizations help you sponsor an animal,6 you should narrow it down to a few or one that is more personal to you. The following are steps to ensure that you focus on the initiative with the most impact on the world.

 Is the Non-Profit Legitimate?

Almost all legitimate organizations have an online presence, and you can check the website or social media handles to check what they do. You will find their history, missions, what they stand for, how they work, and what they have achieved so far.

What Is Their Goal?

Any project will only succeed if it has a clear mission. The initial step is to check that the institution has a plan and knows what it is doing.

They have to state that their goal is environmental and wildlife conservation.

Are Their Goals Measurable?

Besides a clear mission, the non-profit should also have a target and account for donations. All their plans should be achievable and backed up by their track record.

What Have They Achieved?

Like any other investment, you always check whether the company attains its goals; otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth it. Similarly, it helps to confirm the organization’s progress and how well they handle their targets to confirm that they are making an impact.

Are They Transparent?

Legitimate institutions don’t hide their financial statements or details of their sponsors and available reports. Unless exemptions exist, their records should be open to the public or whoever wants to donate.4

Who Are Their Partners and Beneficiaries?

If you receive details about the non-profit from its partners, it confirms their legitimacy, and you can trust them with your donations and have faith in their projects.

What Do ‘Sponsor an Animal’ Charities in This List Have in Common?

While there are many charities globally, the above are careful selections based on how they work, how transparent they are, and what they have achieved so far. They also work on various continents guarding endangered animal species.

Close up photo of a tortoise facing the camera.

(Image: Magda Ehlers12)

While others rescue abandoned and abused wild animals, others focus on several initiatives to protect the natural habitats of wildlife. On the other hand, other charities help clean up oceans while others emphasize tree planting measures by the locals and general sustainable living.

Regardless of the approach, they are all similar in that they help protect endangered species from extinction. Thanks to them, the planet is slowly recovering from the adverse effects of climate change.

Best Ways To Support Adopt an Animal Charities

Once you have settled on the most impactful organization to help you sponsor an animal, the next step is to decide how best to support it. Each non-profit has various ways to raise funds by running certain programs.

Photo of a man wearing blue sweat shirt while carrying a box of donations.

(Image: Cottonbro Studio13)

The following are common ways you can help your chosen non-profit in wildlife conservation.

Making Donations

Most organizations have donation pages on their social media and allow the public to make one-off, monthly or annual contributions to their efforts. You can also subscribe to regular deductions from your account or pay directly using your account.

Buying Merchandise

Lobby groups have other thoughtful ways to receive funding from the public by selling customized gear like T-shirts, caps, mugs, and other common items. It is a win-win since you buy things you need while they receive financial help to run their projects worldwide.

Donating Part of Online Purchases

If you often buy items from online stores like Amazon,8 you must have seen prompts asking for donations to a charity. This way, your chosen organization can receive a fraction of your purchase.


Most of these organizations aim to help conserve the environment by engaging with the locals through various projects. You can also volunteer to join in these efforts and dedicate your time to planting trees and caring for endangered species in sanctuaries.

Fundraising Drives

Another way to help is to spread the word about the projects in your school, workplace, or home and start fundraising drives to help fund your chosen charity or non-profit. You can also share more information about them to attract more people to their projects.

Several legitimate wildlife conservation organizations worldwide are dedicated to protecting endangered species. Most of them are charity organizations that depend on the public’s support to run, and you can do your part if you care about the planet.

Photo of a sea turtle swimming under the sea.

(Image: Jeremy Bishop14)

You can identify a foundation that resonates best with you, whether you want to protect animals at risk or preserve their natural habitat. Regardless of your choice, know that your efforts will directly go to keeping the planet safe for the next generations.

One way is to sponsor an animal where you can send donations to the welfare to help them care for particular animals or an entire endangered species.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sponsor an Animal

What Is Animal Sponsorship?

Animal sponsorship is when you help organizations care for particular species or at-risk animals to survive in their habitat. You can send direct donations to adopt an animal, and the funds will go to caring for it, providing food and medicine to help it survive.

Other organizations offer adoption certificates and let you track the animal’s location from wherever it is in the world.

How Can You Sponsor an Animal?

One of the most effective direct ways to help conserve wildlife is to help your sponsorship animal find a permanent loving home. You can engage in activities your favorite charity or non-profit undertakes to sponsor an endangered animal.

You can make one-time, monthly, or annual donations to help fund projects like caring for a particular animal, protecting a species or guarding animals’ natural habitat. Alternatively, you can buy merchandise, volunteer, or start fundraisers.

How Can You Participate in WWF Adopt an Animal?

WWF is one of the world’s leading animal welfare foundations, and you can participate in its Sponsor an Animal Program by symbolic sponsorship. Here, your funding goes to directly keeping an entire species safe in its original home.

How Do I Adopt a Farm Animal Into My Home?

Adopting a farm animal is not the same as buying a domestic animal; instead, you enter a contractual agreement with a rescue and follow all its guidelines to acquire and care for it. You don’t own the animal and cannot sell it, but you can return it if you change your mind.

The adoption procedure varies based on the organization, but generally, you fill in an application form, and if successful, you can take the farm animal home.


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2Lauwrens, M. (2016, May 20 ). 10 of the Best Organizations to Follow That Help Endangered Animals. Retrieved January 5, 2022 <https://medium.com/@GVI/10-of-the-best-organizations-to-follow-that-help-endangered-animals-e2735a787269>

3Rosenberg, L. (2020, December 8). Are Wildlife Adoption Programs Legitimate? What You Should Know. Retrieved January 5, 2023 <https://www.greenmatters.com/p/wildlife-adoption-programs>

4 Shaik, C. (2023). 9 Best Charities to Symbolically Adopt a Wild Animal in Need (Complete 2023 List). Retrieved January 5, 2023 <https://impactful.ninja/best-charities-to-symbolically-adopt-a-wild-animal/>

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