Registered Charity in England & Wales No.1165941


A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.

She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”

The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”

The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.

— Adapted from ‘The Star Thrower’ by Loren C. Eiseley

Everyone can make a difference, even if it’s only for just one animal. We believe in a compassionate and inspirational approach that makes real change happen.? Read more about our philosophies here

Our History

Founded in 2012, Wild Welfare is a UK registered charity working globally to improve welfare for wild animals living in captivity.

We are the first captive wild animal welfare charity, set up by zoo professionals, that is solely focused on improving welfare standards by uniting leading zoos and animal welfare NGOs around the world.

We make discussion happen between accredited zoo professionals, zoo associations and global animal welfare NGOs and work together on finding solutions to some of the most critical welfare issues facing wild animals in captivity.

The Challenge

There are estimated to be more than 10,000 zoos worldwide and it is likely that only a very small percentage of these fall under appropriate animal welfare legislation and or guiding principles from a zoo association. Poor captive animal welfare is often widely prevalent within facilities that fall outside recognised standards, meaning potentially thousands of animals are suffering around the world.

Globally, zoos significantly contribute to a diverse conservation effort, but under-developed zoos, although often in the very countries struggling to manage regional declines in biodiversity, have little in the way of expertise and resources to contribute, limiting the value of the combined global effort.

Zoos are in the spotlight for their animal care and welfare practices now more than ever, with societal interest in the welfare of all animals, including those in zoos, at an all-time high. Some very poor zoos with extreme welfare concerns are regularly highlighted by a growing animal welfare community, with calls to boycott them or close them down. In many of these cases the reason for the outcry is obvious, but is closing them down really a long-term solution to the problem?

With the number of zoos and captive wild animal facilities around the world unlikely to be decreasing, our work ensuring captive animals receive high standards of animal care and welfare is needed even more.

The Animal Welfare Issues

The lack of institutional or national regulations results in poorly managed zoos with poor standards of animal welfare. Poor welfare is often exacerbated by over-crowding, insufficient healthcare and a lack of visitor awareness and respect. Animal keepers within many of the zoos have limited or no animal management background, and veterinary expertise and care is extremely limited – in an environment where specialist care for exotic wild animals is an absolute necessity.

This limited knowledge and understanding among zoo staff makes it difficult to make improvements and inadequate animal protection legislation prevents any national change that could help. To improve welfare for zoo animals requires strong working relationships between zoos, aquariums and animal welfare groups. Animal welfare NGOs and the accredited zoo community both agree on and want to support attaining the very highest welfare standards for animals in captivity.

We’re uniting the world’s leading zoos and animal welfare organisations and providing practical solutions to help end the suffering of wild animals in captivity.

The Wild Welfare Solution

We play a pivotal role in the ongoing improvement of animal welfare in zoos, as well as providing critical support to facilities that want to end unacceptable wild animal welfare practices.
We believe in a compassionate, empathy-based approach to animal welfare. We use scientific, evidence-based information for our training and resources and ensure our projects can deliver practical and achievable change for animals.

We work with zoos and animal welfare organisations around the world, concentrating on what can be done now to improve animal welfare. We work on the ground with the very people who have the power to make change, delivering practical animal care and welfare training and advising on national animal welfare standards and ethical practices.

Our work is bringing the welfare of captive wild animals to the forefront of public and policy agendas globally. We’re reaching facilities others haven’t been able to and improving captive animal suffering around the world.

The issue of poor wild animal welfare and abuse cannot be resolved single-handedly, but together we can change minds, attitudes and practices and help improve welfare for many wild animals around the world.

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Help animals in captivity around the world.

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