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Adopt an Animal This Year in Honor of World Wildlife Day

An anteater, seal, and sea turtle.
World Animal Foundation

March 3 is World Wildlife Day, and if you want to help out some of your favorite animals, consider donating to a wildlife fund. Not only will your money go to a fantastic cause, but you can also learn more about some of your favorite species.

You can, of course, just donate money to your organization of choice, and they’ll absolutely be grateful to receive it. However, some nonprofits offer the option of symbolically “adopting” an animal. This is a fantastic way for both children and adults to learn more about animals and the natural world.

Below are some organizations that do incredible work for animals and what you’ll receive in return when you donate.

World Wildlife Fund

WWF Polar Bear adoption kit.
WWF

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is probably one of the most widely known organizations dedicated to the protection of wild animals. Donations go to save animals and their habitats.

You can either donate money and receive an email certificate or choose from one of the 100 symbolic adoption kits. Some include a cute plush version of the animal, an adoption certificate, an info card, and more, depending on how much you donate.

The National Wildlife Federation

The meerkat adoption kit.
National Wildlife Federation

Any money you give to The National Wildlife Federation goes toward the prevention of things that cause species to decline, like illegal hunting and habitat destruction.

When you purchase an adoption kit, a tree will be planted for you somewhere in the United States, and you’ll also receive a certificate of appreciation along with your adoption kit.

There are many animals you can choose from, including meerkats, lions, koalas, kangaroos, and great white sharks. Adoption kits are available at three donation levels, with the lowest snagging you a certificate and poster. The highest includes both of the latter, plus a stuffed animal and photo calendar.

Sierra Club

The Red Fox and River Otter adoption kits.
Sierra Club

Sierra Club is another wonderful organization to donate to, and it also offers symbolic adoptions. You can also choose to donate monthly or officially join the club! As a club member, you get a cool Sierra Club “trekker bag,” a subscription to Sierra magazine, optional outdoor trips for members only, a local chapter membership, and discounts on merch.

There are fewer animals you can symbolically adopt than there are at some of the other organizations on our list, but you get some great perks. A basic adoption includes a plush toy of your chosen animal and a book full of animal facts and stickers. The deluxe kit also includes the trekker bag.

World Animal Foundation

A tiger and donkeys, both of which you can symbolically adopt at the World Animal Foundation site.
World Animal Foundation

One thing that sets the World Animal Foundation’s symbolic adoptions apart from those we’ve covered above is you can also adopt a farm animal. In fact, you can “adopt” an animal from any of the following categories:

  • Fish
  • Bugs
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • Mammals
  • Wild animals
  • Endangered species
  • Farm animals

You’ll learn just as much from a farm animal donation as you would from one for a wild animal. The farm animal adoption kit includes a photo of and fact sheet about your animal, an adoption certificate, and lots of information about how you can help animals.

If you choose a different route, you’ll get similar information on your animal. If you adopt an animal on the endangered species list, you might even help save a wild animal from extinction. There are no stuffed toys with these adoptions, making them an excellent choice if you’re gifting an adult.

Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife Panther adoption kit.
Defenders of Wildlife

Defenders of Wildlife adoptions are specifically for endangered species. They have 23 wild animals you can choose from, including the arctic fox, lynx, bald eagle, panther, and polar bear. Your donation goes to help protect that animal’s habitat, as well as to educate people on how they can coexist with that species.

Adoption kits are available in two options: a certificate and photo, or the latter, along with a cute stuffed toy.


Many organizations offer symbolic adoptions of the animals they work so tirelessly to protect. While all of the above are worthwhile causes, you can choose the symbolic adoption kit that works best for your budget and circumstances.

And hey, why stop with World Wildlife Day? If you’re looking for more ways to give back, check out these suggestions for ways you can help every month of the year!

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »

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