A SELF-SERVICE INITIATIVE FROM FREE THE WILD
Free The Wild endeavours to stop the suffering of wild animals in captivity. As successful as we can hope to be, we are a small organisation and, until we expand, we can only focus our dedication on a specific number of projects at a time.
We are incredibly grateful for the recommendations that are being put forward by our supporters and we will always take these animals into consideration - as and when we come to complete a project, or make significant progress on a project's development, we increase our capacities to take on additional projects.
With that being said, we stand to end the suffering of all wild animals in captivity and so we felt it necessary to provide our supporters with some information on how to help specific animals in need.
Have you seen a captive wild animal that clearly needs help?
Here's a list of a few things you can do to help make that animal's life better, or even work towards rehabilitation or release!
Petitions are a great way to show decision-makers that a cause is worth considering. The more signatures a petition has, the more influence it holds and, in some countries, governments are legally obliged to consider the contents of a petition when it reaches a certain number of signatures. Check with your local councils or government representatives to confirm how many signatures your petition needs.
One of the most powerful tools involved in Kaavan's release from Islamabad Zoo was a petition delivered to the Pakistan Government that garnered over 250,000 signatures!
Here are two petition sites we recommend to start your campaign today:
It goes without saying that Social Media forms a major part of any community-focused project. Create a page or group that represents the animal in question or the issue at hand, on any (or all) of the social media channels you use. Add as much information to those pages and groups about the cause as you can. Follow the page yourself and then invite your friends, family and colleagues to like and share as well. If you continue to update those pages with regular content, you'll be able to build a community of like-minded people who support your mission.
Remember that hashtags are incredibly important! Be sure to think of a good one that's not too long but accurately describes the mission you're fighting for and use it in every social post your create!
CONTACT THE PRESS
If the animal you've found is being held by a commercial enterprise, a government facility or - in some cases, a private owner - you may be able to generate the interest from the local press.
There are many factors that the press will consider before deciding to publish the story, not least of which is whether they feel that there's actually a story to be told. Be sure to do your due diligence, see what laws or legislations are being broken, obtain evidence of cruelty or mistreatment and prove that you're not alone in your concerns by flaunting your petition signatures and social following.
There is nothing wrong with making a stand, but please ensure that it's safe to do so, wherever you decide to hold your protest.
A peaceful protest involves no violence and aims to cause minimal disruption. The intention is draw attention to your cause and make a physical show of community concern.
Never resort to violence to convey a message and, where violence is brought unto you, remove yourself from the situation immediately.
GET EXPERT ADVICE
Using social media and the power of Google, you can run highly effective searches and quickly find local contacts and leading authorities on animal health and welfare.
Reach out to experts through social channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Quora. Create posts asking for expert veterinarian advice on your particular case and, if you have the funds, boost those posts to reach more people.
If you feel that an animal is in dire need of medical attention, speak with a member of staff at the facility in question to determine whether the animal will be treated or if the staff believe the animal to be unwell. Ask for permission to have a Vet examine the animal. If you cannot obtain permission, we suggest gathering as much photo and video evidence of the animal as possible and making notes on the animal's behaviour and visual wellbeing. Send this information to an appropriate expert and add their comments to your petition and social pages.
Find out what it will take to make this animal's life better - ask the experts or analyse the situation for yourself; does the owner show signs of potential to make change, financially; are the facilities in good working order; are the staff well-trained; is the enclosure clean; is the animal physically healthy? What does the animal need - more space, a partner, mental stimulation, medical care, nutrition and water?
Share this information with your supporters and any experts to determine the best course of action for the animal. Does it need a better diet, more stimulation, medical attention or to be rehomed? And, if it is to be rehomed, is the animal physically capable of making the journey?
There are a great many things to consider, and we've only scratched the surface here, but by involving relevant experts, your collective of caring and compassionate people can work together to formulate a plan of action and determine how much everything's going to cost.
Raising money is the most difficult aspect of the entire project. Not only are you competing with other charitable causes, but these days you're also competing with a global pandemic.
The good news is that there are a huge range of solutions available to help you fundraise, but the bad news is that it's entirely down to you and your abilities to raise awareness around your fundraiser that will determine the fundraiser's success. I.e. if nobody knows you're raising funds, you won't raise much, no matter what systems you employ.
So, any fundraiser goes hand in hand with your petitions and your social pages - ensuring that wherever possible, you direct your reader's attention to supporting your cause.
Here are a few fundraising options for you to consider:
GoFundMe - a self-contained platform that you can easily share across your social media. All you need is a form of ID and a bank account to get started. Search "crowdfunding" on Google to find other crowd-sourced fundraising platforms.
PayPal - link your PayPal account to your bank account and create a donation link. You can share this link on your social channels or a website you create.
DonorBox - link your Donorbox account to your PayPal or Stripe accounts and receive money by linking people to your campaign through your social media or incorporating a Donorbox widget on a website your build.
Website - use a free web builder to generate a website for your cause. Many providers will offer premium features that allow you to customise your site with your own web address, donation features and more. Check out Wix and Squarespace to get started.
INITIATE THE PLAN
Once you have the necessary funds in place, it's a matter of ensuring that all your agreements with all relevant people and businesses are properly recorded and, where appropriate, legally contracted. We strongly advise that you seek legal assistance prior to initiating any negotiations with the animal's owners, associated governing bodies and contractors.
Once all of your agreements are secure and your guarantees in place, you can go about transferring your funding and initiating your plan of action.