In American wild animal communities, adopting a wild animal is different from adopting a domestic animal.
It's a symbolic adoption, which means, you do not take the animal home. It's also known as sponsoring. So the terms,
"adoption," "symbolic adoption," and "sponsoring" all mean the same thing. Which term is used varies
across agencies and organizations.
Symbolically adopting a wild animal is a truly wonderful way
to learn about wildlife and support those agencies/organizations trying to help precious creatures. With
many programs you get a photo, a certificate, some information, and other interesting things.
With some agencies and
organizations you may also get a toy version of the
animal you adopted, a subscription to a wildlife magazine or newsletter, a book, a map where the animal can be
found, more that one of those things, or perhaps something else.. It
depends on the package you purchase.
Many programs are relatively inexpensive (ex: 25 dollars a year). Some charge smaller fees that are monthly. Some even let you decide how much
to pay. Some are more expensive, but have different levels. With programs like that, the most expensive
price usually comes first, so if you see an expensive one online, keep reading to see if that program
has different price levels. Some adoption programs are expensive and do not have
multiple levels. But that may be
because people of that agency are also taking care of the animals and they have
to provide food, medicine and other things.
Some programs allow you to adopt a particular individual animal living in the wild. This happens when
the individuals of a certain species all have unique markings so that scientists can tell them apart while observing
them in the wild, and then report on them.
These type of program may also be available if the animal is at a rehabilitation hospital getting healthy,
or is living at a sanctuary. Other programs allow you to only adopt the species. You may...may
get updates on the species, but not on individuals. So the program may be named, "Adopt a dolphin,"
and you may even get a picture of a dolphin, but the info may be very general and have updates about the
dolphin species...and perhaps what the organization/agency is doing to help that species.
Whatever program you get, you'll be helping animals, and that's the most important thing!