What should I do to start to protect wild animals?

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Protecting the wildlife if seen as a great contributor to keeping a sustainable environment. Human impact on other creatures on this planet is massive. We slaughter millions of different animals every year in order to put steaks and fish on our dinner plates. And in order to build infrastructure, cities and other buildings, we lose thousands of species every year. According to WWF, between 200 and 2000 species are lost because of human activity every year.

The biggest negative human impact on the wildlife can be seen in developing countries. And there is a reason for why scientists are quite alarmed about the deforestation of the Amazon in South America.

In other words: things are not going very well. We need to stand stronger together in order to protect wild animals. And luckily, you can contribute to make a positive change.

So what can you do in order to protect wild animals?

Mainly three things:

Give to charity

Giving some money to the right organizations can help to support a good cause. Many people around the world work day in and day out in order to help wild animals. You can support them with a small donation.

Be a volunteer

There are loads of volunteer programs around the world that you can join. Go help the pandas in China or save some sea turtles in Bali. Combine helping animals with getting a great cultural experience!

Buy organic products

Buying natural products that are not tested on animals is important. Many companies are still using wild animals to test if their new makeup is “safe” to be sold to consumers.

Charity programs

It might be the answer you were looking for, but it is true. The most efficient way of

There are many charity programs out there. Be very careful about which one to support.

protecting wild animals is actually to donate to some relevant charity programs. Trying to make a difference on your own can be a bit overwhelming. Especially if you don’t know where to start. Of course, you don’t go around in the neighborhood killing birds, but still…not much to do unless you really want to become more active.

If I owned a boring website that only tried to get the money out of people, I would of course have a couple of charity programs to offer you now. But I don’t. I have given to a couple of “wildlife charity programs” myself, but they have been local ones in Norway. So I am not in the position where I will tell you to give to charity X or stay away from charity Y.

The whole concept of giving money like this is to allocate resources to people and organizations that have experience in protecting the wildlife. In other words, there is a big chance that the money will be much more well-spent if someone take care of them than yourself – especially if you do not have any experience with such activities. But be very careful. The internet is full of people that want your money, which is why a careful approach is highly recommended.

How to pick the right charity program?

Choosing a charity program can be tough. There are so many organizations out there that really scream for attention. And that might not be so weird: everyone feels that “their” case is by far the most important one. When I did some research for charities that help out wildlife animals, these are just some of the organizations that popped up:

Planting trees can be an indirect, yet efficient way to help wild animals.

– Working towards releasing elephants from the Thailand tourist industry
– Reforestation in the tropical rainforests (this is a good one, by the way…)
– Save stray cats and dogs in Romania
– Plant urban trees so wildlife can come back to US cities
– And a lot more.

I could probably continue all day by just doing research and listing them in this article. But that is not the point. The point is that with a great variety of different organizations, you need to pick the one that you feel is most important.

There are two factors involved:

1) What do you think is the most important case?
2) What is the most important case, from an overall environmental perspective?

A lot of people want to save dogs and cats in the streets of East European cities. But that will probably not help to give some good results in terms of wildlife population and better environment. Saving the rainforest will. And planting more urban trees is amazing. So then again, I think choosing the right charity is a combination of what you feel is the most important thing for you and combine that some facts about what could help save the earth.

Examples: Global charity organizations that work towards conservation of wildlife

Who?What?Website link
Wildlife Conservation SocietyConservation of habitats for wild animals globally.wcs.org
World Wildlife Fund (WWF)Sustaining biodiversity and improving how people and wild animals interract. worldwildlife.org
World Animal ProtectionEnsuring that all animals globally are treated with respect.worldanimalprotection.org

PS! There’s many more to choose from. I just wrote down the ones that I know are serious – and where most of your money will actually go towards helping wild animals. There is loads of scammers out there, so you better be aware if you donate to some unknown organization.

Can I travel abroad to participate in some “volunteer for wildlife programs”?

Yes, you can. There are loads of possibilities in different countries around the world if you want to volunteer. These programs are very often popular among young adults between 18 and 30 that want to take a year off in some exotic country.

We have gathered a list of the most interesting ones. If you really want to go abroad to contribute to the increased wildlife population, I am sure you will find something that suits you here. Especially if you don’t mind travelling abroad.

Volunteer option #1: Pandas in China


In China, there are loads of organizations that try to attract volunteers to their Panda Conservation and Research Center. As these animals are not technically longer in the wild, it is not exactly helping out wildlife animals. However, the panda is a species that has been under threat for extinction – and the Chinese government have worked hard to grow the panda population. As a volunteer you will be able to care for pandas, help with food preparation and clean the facilities.

It might not sound too tempting, but it actually really seems like a cool experience. You can actually be in direct contact with the cutest animal on the planet – every single day! 🙂

Also read: the wild panda population in China is increasing

The best thing of all is that you can really make a difference if you volunteer to help the pandas in China. You will more or less be a part of a revolution. By that I mean that we have seen a very good increase in the panda population after China made some hefty investments in these facilities.

Video: this is how it is to be a Panda volunteer in Chengdu, China

I have spent several of my adult life living in China. During that period, I spoke with a lot of people who had arrived China as a “panda volunteer”. In order to give you the most accurate feeling of how it looks like being a part of the “panda program”, this video summarizes it quite well:

They are so cuuuute. 🙂

Volunteer option #2: Sea turtle rescue on Bali

Sea turtles are some of the most beautiful creatures on this planet. They are simply so adorable. And now you can contribute to saving them in their own habitat.

As these turtles meet threats from a lot of different perspectives, there is a lot to do as a “turtle rescuer” (pretty cool title as well, right?). The biggest problem on Bali is that these turtles accidentally ends up in the fishermen’s fishing nets and get injured. Most of the fishermen are willing to give these turtles to local organizations that care for them until they are healthy enough to be released. And this is where you can be a part of this process.

Some other organizations do a bit more manual/boring work. They actually walk around the beaches of Bali gathering plastic waste. This might sound boring. And it is. But it’s actually quite helpful for turtles and other sea creatures. As scientists start to map out exactly how big impact plastic items in the ocean has on the surrounding wildlife, removing that plastic is to great help for the animals. It might sound like a “drop in the ocean” (pun intended…), but it can really help saving some sea turtles.

Video: Sea Turtle rescue in Maldives

If you thought the panda video was cute, this is (if possible) even better:

It didn’t take me long to check out flight tickets to Maldives. Unfortunately, I am “stuck” in a full-time job on the other side of the world…

For how long can I volunteer?

The time frame of these volunteer programs vary a lot. If you want to stay for a couple of days: perfect! And if you want to stay for more than a month: also okay! And if you want to stay for a full year: well, that can give you some challenges in terms of visa application, etc.

But the things is: you will very often have full flexibility in terms of how long you would want to stay.

Buying products that do not harm the environment

As you might know, wildlife and nature are very much connected. And by that, I mean that you would not have a well-functional wildlife population unless they have a great natural habitat. And the other way around. Anyway, the main point is: using ecofriendly products is a very good way to take care of wild animals.

There are two types of products you should stay away from

1) Products tested on animals and
2) products that obviously is bad for the environment/nature.

What`s up with the animal testing?

Many years ago, around 1950, people found out that testing commercial products on animals seemed like a good idea. By exposing animals to products that were meant for humans, they would quickly find out if the items would have a bad effect on living creatures. In other words, if some lab rats died by using product X, it would probably not reach the shelves. And initially, this might sound like a good idea.

The problem is that animal testing over the last years has turned towards something companies use in order to test products they know can be dangerous. It is no longer a way to test products they assume are “clean”. The amount of animals die every year from shady product testing is quite remarkable.

Many celebrities have started to get engaged in the fight against animal testing. And there are many lists online with companies that still are testing their products on animals, which, frankly, is not the best PR you can get as a company these days.

Products that hurt the wildlife population

There are some products that are widely known for hurting the environment. We know that eating beef and buying plastic bottles are bad. But there are some things that you might be aware of. And I guess you purchase some of them on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

You might be surprised by these everyday products that hurt the environment. When you read articles like that, you start to understand that there are so many choices that you need to take every day. And that almost all of them will affect the environment in some way.

What about stop supporting makeup companies that test products on animals?

The debate has been ongoing for over 20 years. But there are still a lot of makeup companies that still test on animals these days. Let us dig into why it is happening and what we can do to prevent it.

Why do makeup companies test on animals?

Because it is a very efficient way of figuring out how a certain product will affect a living creature. I don’t care if you like animal testing or not, but we have to say: it is a very efficient way of measuring the potential danger of a chemical used in a makeup product. If a rat or a rabbit reacts negatively to a certain product, it will never be sold to human consumers. But if 0 of 1000 rabbits get a negative effect, you probably have created a product that is not dangerous.

In addition to that, it is cheap. Sadly, mass producing animals these days are quite cheap. Also, rabbits and rats are not exactly the most energy-intensive animals to take care of.

So why do so many people have problems with animal testing on makeup?

There are two arguments that always come up in this discussion:

1) Animal cruelty.
2) We have now developed good enough technology to figure out whether or not a makeup product is safe to put on shelves.

And to be fair, both of those are quite good arguments.

If you want to know more about how you can buy eco-friendly makeup, we have published an article about that. You can read it here.

Conclusion

As you might already understand, there are loads of things you can do to help saving wild animals. Some of them demand you to travel across the world. But you can easily flip out your credit card and make a small donation as well. Again: we are not, and will probably never be, affiliated with any specific charity organization. But there are a lot of non-profit organizations out there that do work intensively to improve the condition of wild animals.

What neither costs you anything today nor demands you to travel is the last option: not buying products that will hurt animals. I would especially ask people that use makeup to get educated about the industry. Loads of companies are still using animals in the development of new products. The only way to stop this madness is to be a conscious consumer. Once these businesses understand that it is not profitable anymore, they will stop. Getting widespread negative PR globally is the worst thing that can happen to these multinational companies that are selling consumer products.

5 thoughts on “What should I do to start to protect wild animals?”

    1. Avatar

      Hi Andrew, thanks for your comment. There are loads of lists out there. I would suggest googling “wildlife charities list” – and there’s at least 20 hyper-relevant articles to be found 😉

  1. Avatar

    Going to Maldives is more of a dream than actually something that helps. I mean, it helps a lot to save these sea turtles, dont get me wrong.

    My point is that the environmental impact of your flight is SO high compared to what the turtles gain. And dont come with that “oh, the airplane goes regardless of if you fly or not” stuff. If enough people stop flying across the world all the time, airline companies will start reducing the frequency of their flights.

    Protecting wildlife = NICE. I support that.

    Waht I don’t support is greenwashing the initiatives

    1. Avatar

      Hi Karen, thanks for your input.

      There’s a couple of points that I would like to make:

      1) Not everyone are based far away from Maldives. This website is not only for people coming from Europe or North America.
      2) Brilliant that you seem to agree that supporting wildlife initiatives is a good thing. We have found some common ground. 🙂

      Have a good day.

  2. Avatar

    I was a volunteer in Wuxi to help out With pandas in China. Very happy With my job, but of course: it was not paid properly…it was also a big hassle to get my visa to China.

    Pandas might look cute, but they can also be annoying. if i was to do another round of volunteer work for Wild animals, i would definitely help out With sea turtles in the South east asia. not only is it a better way of saving animals (I mean, the chinese government takes care of the pandas anyway), but its also much better weather Down there

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