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.
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 Vision is to end the suffering of captive wild animals around the world, ensuring full and sustainable protection is given to all animals in human care.
Our Mission is to unite the world’s leading zoos and animal welfare organisations to improve the welfare of captive wild animals around the world.
Many animal welfare practices seen in captive wild animal facilities are indefensible and yet they continue. Lack of veterinary care, unsuitable animal enclosures, inappropriate animal performances and visitor contact and uncontrolled breeding, can all result in poor animal welfare. Such poor welfare conditions – be they in a zoo, aquarium, rescue centre or sanctuary – are often associated with socio-economic problems that feed into other troubling issues such as the illegal wildlife trade. Working with these facilities enables us to achieve national and regional changes, not only in animal welfare, but broader-based wildlife issues as well.
From providing basic animal care and welfare training to zoo keepers, to working with national legislators, we aim to get to the core of the issue and give practical support that helps improve welfare for wild animals in captivity. Making improvements in animal enrichment and husbandry practices, bringing in new welfare policies and legislation and offering better veterinary care all help to secure long-term changes in animal welfare.
We work with all those working in the zoo and animal welfare fields who are also committed to making positive welfare changes through research and reform. We believe in supporting institutions and individuals making educated changes that result in improved animal welfare practices. We are reaching facilities others haven’t been able to, proving that a positive, inclusive approach rather than negative condemnation is key to making a difference to the lives of wild animals in captivity.
We embrace different cultures, values and behaviours, but use the most up to date animal welfare research to make improvements, helping ensure harmful, outdated practices become a thing of the past, while encouraging positive cultural action for the future.
We make change happen. While lobbying and campaigning can be effective, we choose instead to work together with those key people who have the ability to make positive change for animals. Whether that is other NGOs like us, zoo directors, zoo keepers or government authorities, we build positive relationships and work on getting to the heart of the problem, providing the expert support that will make a difference to animals’ lives.
We do not provide direct animal rescues, but we do support other animal welfare charities, sanctuaries and zoos, by providing funds and expertise that enables them to respond to emergency situations, ensuring that where wild animals are suffering, they can get the help they need.
While an injection of funds may enable short-term improvements to be made, it does not instil the cultural change necessary for long-term animal welfare progression. We continually assess project success and help facilities that can act as ambassadors in their region and have a wider impact on lasting animal welfare improvements.
We believe in a compassionate, empathy-based approach to animal welfare.
We have a moral responsibility towards wild animals in human care and everything we do is focussed on improving welfare for captive wild animals.
We have no political agenda and do not get involved in the ethical debate of wild animals in captivity.
We form constructive, positive partnerships that bring about lasting change for animals.
We are non-confrontational, objective and professional, we have no political agenda and respect cultural differences.
We apply the most up to date knowledge and understanding of animal care and welfare to all that we do.
We want to effect sustainable change that improves animal welfare now and in the future.
We advise and train animal care staff, helping inspire individuals to develop their knowledge and understanding of positive wild animal welfare practices.
We understand the need to compromise and to give change time to happen, but we are always looking for continuous improvement.