Wanting to support an animal conservation organization is something that many people love the idea of doing, but the sheer number of different organizations that exist can often be overwhelming. What do they do? How can they help? How can you support them? Why should you choose this conservation organization over another? Why don’t I just support them all?
These are just some of the questions you might have when trying to search for a conservation organization to support. However, as much as you would love to support them all, this is not always possible, especially with normal daily financial obligations. This is why we have put together this guide to help you in your decision-making process of which animal conservation organization you can support and everything you need to look out for.
Understanding conservation organizations
From local grassroots efforts to organizations with locations throughout the world, there is no shortage of conservation programs to choose from, with more being created every day. As more and more people want to join in on conservation efforts, the list will only continue to grow.
But before we jump into our list of how to choose which conservation organizations to support, let’s step back and remind ourselves what conservation is. Conservation includes a number of efforts to study nature and protect the species and habitats native to their ecosystems. There are many types of conservation organizations, including those that focus on:
• Environmental conservation
• Animal conservation
• Marine conservation
By breaking down conservation organizations into different categories, you can find an area that you are truly dedicated to. However, you will need to know exactly what these different conservation programs do in order to make a more informed decision.
What do animal conservation organizations do?
The four main types of conservation organizations mentioned above often overlap to work towards shared goals. Here are just a few of the activities that conservation organizations support in an effort to protect and preserve natural habitats and the animals that call those places home.
• Conservation of wildlife habitats: Groups that focus on this particular area are about maintaining populations of species in their natural habitats. The habitat needs to be sufficient enough to support the species in the long term.
• Medical care for injured animals: The mission for many conservation programs is to help, rescue, rehabilitate, care for, and then release animals back into their natural habitats.
• Breeding programs: The primary focus for conservation organizations is about increasing the population of endangered animals, and some will run breeding programs to help prevent extinction.
• Education: Many conservation programs believe that by educating people about the problems endangered animals face, like habitat destruction and illegal poaching, can enact change.
• Battling illegal wildlife trade: Illegal wildlife trade threatens many species and puts them at risk of going extinct. Conservation organizations aim to put a stop to the illegal wildlife trade.
Hopefully, after looking through the above list, you have more of an idea of which area of animal conservation you wish to support. This makes the search for the right group for you much easier. However, there is still a lot that needs to be considered before you start donating. Take the following four points into account.
What should I look out for when choosing an animal conservation organization to support?
There are a number of different things that you should look out for when you are choosing which conservation organization to support. When finding the right conservation organization for you, consider the following questions:
1. What animals do they focus on?
Conservation programs can vary on the animals they can support and, unfortunately, it doesn’t always cover every single species. However, with more support given to programs, hopefully, this can change. Until then, you will need to take a more detailed look into what animals the conservation group supports. Do they focus on land animals or marine life? You might want to choose conservation groups that also consider the smaller species, and conserving whole habitats that benefit many species by preserving an ecosystem.
It would also benefit you to see which animals are the most endangered. Supporting the conservation organizations that are focused on helping those most in danger will make a huge difference.
2. What is their vision?
When choosing to support a group, you will want to know exactly what their vision is for the next year and beyond. Up to date financial statements should be available on their website, so that you can see their operating finances match their vision. This will also inform you of the difference your money is making in aid of animal conservation. For many people, this is something that convinces them to part with their money. Rather than going for a conservation group that states, “we want to support endangered wildcats,” choose a company that says how they continue to support the wildcats. What will they do to see this goal through?
3. What do they do?
Finding out how and what they do to support animals is vital. Take the above example: a conservation group that is focused on helping endangered wildcats can mean different things. One conservation group might focus on improving their natural habitat while another might want to focus on increasing the population numbers. You will want to know precisely how they plan on doing this, however. Look into whether they have a breeding program that needs financial support in order to continue or if they need to finance the required medical equipment to help improve the health of injured animals when operating a rescue and rehabilitation program.
4. How can you support them?
It is also a good idea to look into how you can support conservation groups. Sometimes people want to do more than just donate every month. You might feel like you want to get actively involved. Sometimes, that can be as easy as taking a trip to the zoo. For example, the Gulf Breeze Zoo in Florida supports a number of conservation groups and educational efforts. Or you could volunteer for a trip that allows you to support a conservation group directly for a short period of time. Lastly, you can choose a conservation organization that is aligned with your personal conservation goals and contribute monthly donations.
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