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Executive Summary

Introductions to wild animal welfare as a moral concern abound, but there is no centralized overview of efforts to help wild animals. Using interviews and publicly available material, we describe the theories of change of five organizations working on wild animal welfare: Wild Animal Initiative, Welfare Footprint, Animal Ethics, Animal Charity Evaluators, and New York University's (NYU) Wild Animal Welfare program.

Our synthesis reveals several commonalities:

  • Academic outreach is the main tactic.
  • Organizations have a cautious attitude towards controversial efforts to ameliorate non-anthropogenic harms.
  • Organizations have focused mostly on helping mammals and birds so far.
  • All organizations have room for more funding.

To contextualize these trends, we assume that there are three preconditions to improving the aggregate welfare of wild animals at scale:

  1. Valid measurement: Knowledge of (a) how to measure the welfare of wild animals and (b) the causal relationships among the factors that influence it.
  2. Technical Ability: Technology and skill to implement interventions to help wild animals at scale, while minimizing unintended negative consequences.
  3. Stakeholder Buy-In: Consent from stakeholders with veto power, and collaboration from stakeholders who can implement scalable interventions.

When comparing the needs of the movement with organizations' activities, we see the following gaps:

  • Academic outreach efforts do not yet focus on the most abundant taxa, or make salient the outsized role they play in determining the aggregate welfare of an ecosystem.
  • There is little targeted outreach to groups other than academics.
  • There is little work advancing Technical Ability.
  • There are few investments in implementing interventions in the near-term.

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Animal Ethics was actually doing alot of outreach outside of EA and academic outreach globally, reaching out to vegan/ vegetarian businesses, animal welfare/ animal rights groups ,etc. But the lack of fundings are making it very difficult. Animal Ethics also have a chatbot https://senti.animal-ethics.org/ to make it easier for people who would like to learn more about wild animal suffering instantly through the chatbot. It would be good to see the larger funding foundation putting in more money into these areas.

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