A Caring World

Information on Symbolic Adoptions (Sponsorships)


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!

To symbolically adopt an animal, please click here.

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Sources:
1) International Wildlife Coalition: Humpback Whale Adoption Program (defunct)
2) World Wildlife Fund: Symbolic Species Adoptions
3) Grand Manan Whale & Seabird Research Station:
. Whale Adoption Materials- Kleenex
. Adopt Right Whales News [blog]
4) Save the Manatee Club: Adopt-a-Manatee

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A Caring World: (c) Sharon Lee Hudson