Photo of a bird by Vincent Van Zalinge for Unsplash.

Wild Animal Initiative

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Wild Animal Initiative works in the US where they aim to create an academic field dedicated to studying how we can improve the lives of wild animals. They conduct research and provide grants.

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Fast Facts

  • Wild Animal Initiative is one of the only charities in the world focused on reducing the suffering of wild animals by considering the needs of individual animals.
  • The number of wild animals alive today is enormous. For each human alive on the planet, there are an estimated 100,000 fish, 100 million molluscs, and 100 billion nematodes.
  • WAI has an estimated room for more funding of around $1.8 million USD in 2022.
  • WAI was founded by Abraham Rowe and Persis Eskander in 2019, as a merger of the organisations Wild-Animal Suffering Research, and Utility Farm.

What does Wild Animal Initiative do?

WAI's mission is to "understand and improve the lives of wild animals."

There is a huge amount of suffering happening in the wild, yet we have an extremely poor understanding of it. To be able to help wild animals, Wild Animal Initiative is working to create an academic field in wild animal welfare that draws from disciplines such as ethics, ecology, and animal welfare science. This field will then be able to identify interventions that can be employed in the wild to benefit those animals. To achieve this, they produce academic research, literature reviews and op-eds, work with researchers from relevant and more established fields to create connections, and run an annual conference on the subject. Recently, they have launched a grantmaking program to fund further research in this space.

Is Wild Animal Initiative effective?

We think WAI is one of the top charities helping wild animals. This is because the cause area itself is particularly large in scale, and very neglected. Wild Animal Initiative appears to be taking a thoughtful and strategic approach to helping wild animals, and while the strategy will take several years to realise impact, the potential impact over the longer term could be huge.

This is why WAI was evaluated as one of Animal Charity Evaluators' top charities, and why we are also confident to recommend them for donors interested in improving animal welfare.

To find out more, see our animal welfare cause area page, and Animal Charity Evaluators review of Wild Animal Initiative.