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Here is Part 1 of the list of my current favorite 40 wildlife organizations to donate to. 



  1. David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

For orphaned elephants and rhinos it doesn’t get better than this wildlife organization. With an orphanage in Nairobi and a wild release and anti-poaching program in Kenya’s largest national Park, Tsavo, this organization is currently overwhelmed with baby-orphaned elephants as a result of the escalating poaching crisis. Learn more about the remarkable woman who runs this place by reading her wonderful memoir.


  1. Save the Elephants

Iain Douglas-Hamilton’s research on wild elephant populations in Northern Kenya has taught the world much about elephant behavior, and migrating patterns. His wildlife organization, ‘Save the Elephants’ is focused on stopping poachers, thwarting traffickers and ending demand for ivory (most recently using educational programs in China where it is desperately needed).



  1. Performing Animal Welfare Society

PAWS is at the forefront of efforts to rescue and provide appropriate, humane sanctuary for animals who have been the victims of the exotic and performing animal trades. Started by an animal trainer for the movie industry turned animal activist, PAWS focuses on Elephants but has also rescued bears, tigers, monkeys and other animals from the abusive life of entertainment.




  1. Cheetah Conservation Fund

Dr. Markers Cheetah Conservation Fund is a model for other wildlife organizations with her pioneering work engaging communities in Namibia to help her protect cheetah. Find out more about Dr. Marker in an interview she did with



  1. Panthera  

Dedicated to conserving the world’s 36 species of wild cats, Panthera partners with local and international scientific institutions, communities, non-governmental organizations and government agencies to conserve endangered wild cats, including tigers, lions, jaguars, and snow leopards around the world.



  1. Small Cat Conservation Alliance

The SCCA works with partners and organizations around the world reducing and mitigating threats to the worlds thirty one species of small wild cats.





  1. Save the Chimps  

Established in1997 by Carole Noon and 21 chimpanzees, Save the Chimps has grown to be the worlds largest chimpanzee sanctuary providing permanent care for 300 chimpanzees rescued from research laboratories, the entertainment industry, and the pet trade.

Recently published- Opening Doors: Carole Noon and Her Dream to Save the Chimps, by Gary Ferguson.



  1. Non-Human Rights Project

The only organization working toward actual LEGAL rights for non-human species. Their mission: to change the common law status of at least some nonhuman animals from mere “things,” which lack the capacity to possess any legal right, to “persons,” who possess such fundamental rights as bodily integrity and bodily liberty. What this organization is fighting for, if achieved, will be a game changer for all of us working for animal welfare.



  1. Great Apes Survival Partnership

GRASP is an innovative and ambitious partnership comprised of great ape range states faced with an immediate challenge: to lift the threat of imminent extinction faced by gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans across their ranges in Equatorial Africa and Southeast Asia.



  1. Lola ya Bonobos

Lola ya Bonobo is the world’s only organization to provide lifetime care to orphaned bonobos (the least known of the great apes). At the sanctuary the bonobos recover from the physical and psychological trauma suffered from being torn from their mothers, their families, and their natural habitat, The Democratic Republic of Congo, the only country with wild bonobos.


Read the delightful memoir, Bonobo Handshake, by Vanessa Woods who spent years working at Lola ya Bonobo sanctuary.



  1. Ngamba Island  

This 100-acre sanctuary in Uganda rescues orphaned and abused chimps from the bush meat, entertainment and pet trade industries. Through their ‘adopt a chimp’ program you can support one of the 48 chimps currently living there.


orangutans for
Orphaned orangutans appreciating flowers.
  1. Save The Orangutan

Save the Orangutan has launched a Forest Program with the purpose of preserving and restoring the orangutans’ natural habitat. By supporting SOS Borneo, you help ensure that orangutans can continue to roam freely in the treetops of Borneo.




I hope you are finding this list of best wildlife organizations to donate to useful.

Can’t decide who to give to?

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  1. Center for Biological Diversity

Because the loss of biodiversity impoverishes society, the Center for Biological Diversity uses science, law, and creative media to protect the lands, waters and climate that all species need to survive. An impressive ninety three percent of their lawsuits have resulted in favorable outcomes for endangered species.


  1. WildEarth Guardians

WildEarth Guardians protects and restores the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West with four programs that include climate and energy.


  1. International Fund for Animal Welfare

Whether it’s working to end whaling, poaching, or seal hunts this wildlife organization seems to have no boundaries for it’s mission to save individual animals, animal populations and habitats all over the world. Founded in1969 and now with projects in more than 40 countries including China, the IFAW provides hands-on assistance to animals in need, whether it’s dogs and cats, wildlife and livestock, or rescuing animals in the wake of disasters.



  1. Defenders of Wildlife  

Defenders’ approach is direct and straightforward – they “protect and restore imperiled species throughout North America by transforming policies and institutions and promoting innovative solutions” –making a lasting difference for wildlife and its habitats.



  1. Born Free

Born Free takes ‘front line’ action worldwide, sending emergency teams to rescue vulnerable animals from appalling lives of misery in tiny cages and move them to spacious bush sanctuaries.



  1. Peta

Peta’s statement that “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any way,” says it all. Considered by some to be radical in their approach they are on this list because I admire their courage to push the limits for the animal causes they are focused on whether it be criticizing the movie and commercial industry for continuing to use chimps as actors, designing explicit ads for anti-fur campaigns, or releasing undercover photos from factory farms, Peta is great at shedding light on some of the toughest areas of animal abuse.



  1. Wildlife Conservation Network

WCN saves endangered species in 24 countries around the world by supporting 14 independent wildlife conservationists working with different wildlife species. They also produce an annual fall conference in San Francisco where supporters can meet and hear from WCN’s conservationists and learn about their wildlife organizations.



  1. David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation

DSWF is a non-bureaucratic organization responding promptly to conservation threats by supporting reputable individuals and organizations operating in the field. Lean on administration but generous on funding, DSWF supports a range of innovative, vital and far-reaching projects throughout Africa and Asia, achieving real results for wildlife survival.


For part 2 of my favorite 40 Wildlife NGOs use this link.


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5 Replies to “Best 40 Wildlife Organizations that Won’t Waste Your $$$”

  1. I think it’s important to check out their ratings on to be sure they’re the right place for you to give your money. For example, some of these organizations spend way too much on advertising or administrative salaries. I believe 300k+ is too much for a CEO salary but some of the charities on this list are not as highly rated on

  2. Thanks for bringing that up. I almost wrote about why I did not include their rankings in this post but here it is. Charity Navigator says they are not the end all in the decision making process for a good organization. I have been involved with NGO’s with high CN ratings and saw how ineffectual they were. So, I don’t rank their ranking super high in my decision process. They don’t cover all organizations, and the financial picture is only one piece of the pie, although an important one. That being said, use my list as a starting point and then go ck them out on CN and then decide for yourself. Hope that helps.

  3. Its kind of a chicken and an egg situation too because the largest organizations, like The Nature Conservancy, get something like 90% of the environmental donations. They can afford to spend less on advertising. Whereas a smaller less known org may need to spend more in the beginning but it does not mean they are not using their other dollars ineffectively. I would rather give to a smaller, less known org a lot of the time and help them grow larger, if they are effective and even if they have to be spending a greater % on getting known. Hope that makes sense.

  4. Thank you for this post Lori! I recently started my own blog how people can help animals. So I will definitely check out this post and others. Thank you for your commitment in helping animals. I also can’t believe you met Jane Goodall. That’s amazing 🙂

  5. Thanks for the comment and glad you are starting a blog about animals. Let me know once its up. There are so few of us out there its nice to know about each other. Best,

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