Our Key Stances
The following are Care for the Wild International’s Key Stances on a selection of common themes and issues in the wildlife sector. They are categorised under three main headings: Conservation, Animals in Captivity and Other Animal Exploitation.
As a welfare and conservation charity, Care for the Wild International sees reintroduction programs as an essential part of wildlife conservation. We therefore only endorse breeding programs that meet the following criteria:
- Form part of an internationally recognised and government approved breeding program
- That lead to the release into the wild of the bred animal(s)
We do not endorse breeding which will result in the bred animals going into permanent captivity of any kind.
Care for the Wild International does not approve of live kill (the feeding of animals in captivity using live animals) owing to the welfare issues of the breeding, keeping and suffering of the animals being used as live kill. However, as a charity we recognise that certain breeding programs will require the use of live kill to train young animals in their natural survival skills if they are due to be released into the wild. In these cases, Care for the Wild only supports live kill for animals that meet the following criteria:
- Live kill is being used solely for animals that will be released into the wild as part of an internationally recognised and government approved breeding program
- Live kill is only used to feed animals that meet the above criteria AND are recognised internationally as Endangered or Critically Endangered
- Any animals being used as live kill should be treated with respect and dignity whilst being reared and kept
Armed Anti-Poaching Patrols:
Care for the Wild International does not fund arms to our own or third party anti-poaching patrols. As poaching has become more sophisticated and more dangerous owing to dramatic price increases of products such as ivory and rhino horn, set against a background of poverty, there has been a dramatic increase in the killing of anti-poaching scouts and rangers. Our anti-poaching teams are not authorised to carry weapons but we do fund the mandatory protection of each patrol with trained armed rangers, for example from the Kenyan Wildlife Service. By doing this we can ensure that we offer our patrols the best security and ensure that anyone carrying arms has had sufficient training in their use.
Any charity partner involved in reintroduction programs must use up to date internationally recognised standards to avoid imprinting and minimise human contact in order to maximise chances of future survival for the released animal(s). Care for the Wild International will only support reintroduction programs that do not compromise the animal(s) welfare if released and as thus will not support reintroductions where the animal(s) have an over reliance on humans and/or a high risk of recapture or poaching. Any monitoring and/or evaluation post release must cause minimum distress to the animal(s) and should be non-invasive wherever possible. Care for the Wild International recognises that once an animal is released it may be difficult or unviable to monitor the animal or to ensure the animal’s safety, but programs must do their utmost to manage this issue.
Charity Funded Research:
Animal welfare is paramount to any research funded by Care for the Wild International. Research should always favour non-invasive over invasive techniques (such as external tagging where possible) and there must be firm scientific reasoning and need for the research. Research partners will always be selected on the basis of their experience within the field and/or a proven track record of similar research programs. Research must have one or more of the following objectives at its core:
- Habitat Protection
- Animal Health and Welfare
Wildlife Trade and Sale of Stockpiles:
Care for the Wild International does not agree with the selling off of stockpiles of ivory and rhino horn via CITES (Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species). Although many argue that flooding the market in ivory and rhino horn to approved buyers would lead to a reduction in poaching, based on the results of previous stockpile sales, we believe this would only serve to legitimise the use of these products and create loopholes for the sale, export and import of these products. We also feel that this is not a long term solution to the consumption issues.
Animals in Captivity
Zoos and Animal Attractions:
Care for the Wild International believes that wild animals should be kept in the wild. We would like to see a world where zoos were not required as a conservation tool nor as an attraction. However, where zoos exist we believe that the following criteria must be met:
- Minimum standard of EC Directive 1999/22 or equivalent
- The animals’ ‘Five Freedoms’ should be met (in line with the UK Animal Welfare Act)
- Every species is provided with conditions relevant to their needs and all animals live a life worth living
- It is recognised by the zoo that certain species should never be kept in captivity (such as cetaceans, elephants, all bear species, great apes)
- Multi-level educational strategy/strategies should be in place
- Public safety should be paramount with no hands on contact, all enclosures labelled with warning signage and stand-off barriers where required
- The public should not be allowed to, nor able to, feed the animals
- Measures are actively taken to prevent injury and disease transmission
As a member of the ENDCAP coalition we believe all zoos should be in line with the ENDCAP EU Zoo Enquiry Summary Recommendations (http://www.bornfree.org.uk/zooreports/Summary).
Care for the Wild International recognises that some animals rescued from the wild or from captivity cannot be released back into the wild owing to injuries, reliance on or excessive contact with humans, trauma, or similar. In these cases Care for the Wild International endorses not for profit sanctuaries that meet internationally recognised and approved welfare standards, and audits all of the sanctuaries that we fund.
Other Animal Exploitation
Care for the Wild International does not endorse any kind of recreational hunting. This includes ‘canned hunting’ and ‘trophy hunting’ – even when the money raised from this hunting goes back into conservation. Though there are arguments for and against this type of hunting, which is common in areas such as South Africa, we believe that animals in the wild should be treated with dignity and respect and we feel that the idea of hunting them to earn money to save their future generations compromises the key ethics of animal welfare.
Care for the Wild International is against any kind of animal experimentation. Though we recognise that animal testing is common practice in the development of pharmaceuticals, we believe that all animals should be treated with dignity and respect.
Whilst Care for the Wild International recognises the need for hunting as a food source in some communities, we do not endorse any bushmeat hunting for commercial purposes.