Top-rated charity

Wild Animal Initiative

Wild Animal Initiative

Cause area: Improving animal welfare

Wild Animal Initiative (WAI) works to improve wild animal welfare by expanding the field of wild animal research. By conducting its own research and helping support the needs of other wild animal researchers, the organisation aims to garner public and academic interest in wild animal welfare and identify evidence-based solutions to the struggles wild animals face.

What problem is Wild Animal Initiative working on?

Wild animals vastly outnumber humans. WAI estimates that, for every human, there are at least 1,000 wild vertebrates and at least 100 million land-living arthropods. The organisation believes that “if we can make changes that help even a fraction of these animals, we will have improved the lives of a huge number of individuals.”

What does Wild Animal Initiative do?

WAI’s mission is “to understand and improve the lives of wild animals.” To that end, WAI:

  • Conducts research on wild animal welfare and has developed research priorities for this relatively young field.
  • Facilitates and advances wild animal welfare research by supporting scientists, experts, academics, and funders. This includes partnering with scientists on high-impact research, facilitating networking opportunities for wild animal researchers and providing career advice, issuing grants and connecting researchers to funding sources, and reviewing research proposals for funders.
  • Helps organise an annual Wild Animal Welfare Summit and produces Wildness, a podcast on wild animal welfare.

Why is Wild Animal Initiative one of our top-rated charities?

WAI meets our criteria to be a top-rated charity because one of our trusted evaluators, Animal Charity Evaluators, has conducted an extensive evaluation highlighting its cost-effectiveness. (Our trusted evaluators are charitable giving experts who focus on impact — their research into the best charities means your donations can do even more good. Learn more about charity evaluators we trust and why.)

ACE found that:

  • “WAI is working in an important and relatively neglected area: conducting and promoting research to help wild animals."
  • “Building an academic field is an ambitious but promising avenue to create change for wild animals in the longer term."
  • “There are few charities working in this area, and WAI seems to have a responsible and thorough approach to building a collaborative community of researchers and advocates."
  • “WAI also seems to have a strong strategy and a healthy organizational culture."
  • WAI is “working in an important and relatively neglected area … building an academic field is an ambitious but promising avenue to create change for wild animals in the longer term.”

WAI has also received funding from Open Philanthropy and the Animal Welfare Fund (managed by EA Funds).

At Giving What We Can, we focus on the effectiveness of an organisation’s work, which considers much more than just the administration costs of the organisation. Learn more about this common “overhead myth” and our approach to charity evaluation.

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