A banner with leafy border and text reading '40 ways for YOU to help wild animals'

To mark our 40th anniversary, Born Free has created this list of 40 practical ways for YOU to help wild animals!

From creating a wildlife-friendly garden to unleashing your inner activist, we hope these ideas will help animal lovers all over the world, young and old, take more positive steps to protect animals, and make the world a better place.

We’ve also created a handy wallchart that you can download and print, so you can tick off every action you take – why not challenge yourself and see how many you can complete before the end of the year?


40 ways to help wild animals

A group of people with orange buckets are lined up along the edge of a river bank, digging with shovels

1. Help wildlife in your area

You could volunteer to join a local conservation project to create more green spaces and encourage native wildlife, build wildlife friendly gardens and verges, or take part in a beach clean to reduce marine plastic pollution. Search on Google to find projects in your area.
A girl poses for a photo with an orangutan in boxing gloves, with a graphic image of a mobile phone with the 'stop selfish selfies' logo.

2. Stop Selfish Selfies

Never pose for a selfie or have your photo taken with a captive wild animal, and spread the word amongst family, friends and work colleagues. Together, let’s send a clear message to encourage tourism operators to pledge not to promote activities that exploit captive wild animals.
A small wooden house filled with sticks, with the words 'Bug Hotel' on the front, on top of a wall

3. Build a bug hotel

Bricks, blocks or wooden pallets filled with dried leaves, twigs, bits of bark, pinecones etc can help you create a safe home for a huge variety of insects and other mini beasts. Choose an undisturbed and sheltered spot in your own back garden, outside area or even your child’s school playground (ask their teacher if possible).
A rail of colourful shirts and blouses on wooden hangers

4. Consume less

Help nature and protect wild habitats by saving resources and consuming less stuff. Always remember to ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. Use less energy and water, drive less, buy organic if possible. Could you challenge yourself to buy no new clothes for a year and reduce your rubbish to one small bag a week?
Virginia McKenna on the set of Born Free, stood beside a lion

5. Watch Born Free & other wildlife films

By watching Born Free (the 1966 classic film that eventually led to the start of our charity) and other more recent wild animal films and documentaries, you can learn why our charity features Elsa the lioness on our logo, and about the lives and issues many animals are facing today. You can then encourage friends and family to watch them too.
Three young herring gulls bathing in a plastic tub

6. Research local wildlife centres

Make yourself aware of local wildlife rescue centres and organisations in your area – then if you ever come across a sick or injured animal, you will know who to call for help. And could you volunteer? The British Wildlife Rehabilitation Council is a great place to start your search.
AA young boy is handling a snake while adults look on

7. Avoid wild animal encounters

If you’re planning a children’s birthday party, don’t hire anyone that offers ‘animal encounter’ experiences. If your child’s school is promoting such an event, politely contact them to explain your concerns. Holding or petting an exotic animal can be really exciting for young children, but it’s incredibly stressful for the animals and sends the wrong message about it being ok to keep wild animals as pets. 
Close up of a person's cupped hands holding lots of coins, with a piece of paper saying 'make a change'

8. Go Wild fundraising

Raise awareness AND money to help wild animals by hosting a charity fundraiser for Born Free or another wildlife charity. From cake sales to sponsored swims, there are loads of fun ways you can fundraise and our NEW fundraising pack has all the materials and support you need to get started.

9. Create local wildlife corridors

Petition your local government to create wildlife corridors in your local area. If you frequently see roadkill, it could be because the animals’ natural movements have been blocked by roads and need their habitats to be reconnected.
Close up of a pile of litter on the beach, including a coca cola can, fishing netting and broken pot

10. Pick up litter

Never drop litter, and if you see litter left by someone else, pick it up. You know not to litter, but picking up someone else’s can save the life of an animal. Could you join or even organise a local litter pick in your local park, beach or river side? But always take great care!
Close up of wild British flowers in field of grass including poppy, cornflower and daisy blooms

11. Make a wildlife-friendly garden

If you have a garden, make it wildlife friendly. Plant native shrubs, trees and hedgerows, that will provide food and shelter for wild animals, and plant wildflower lawns rather than single species grasses. Leave a pile of dead leaves in autumn rather than tidying them all away; untidy is great for wildlife!
View of someone sat on a ride-on lawnmower facing away from the camera

12. Join Plantlife’s ‘No Mow May’

Leave your lawn to grow naturally for a whole month and encourage wild flowers and wildlife to thrive! And once you see wildlife thriving - why stop at just one month?! For top tips on how to prepare your garden, visit the No Mow May website - www.plantlife.org.uk/campaigns/nomowmay
Close up of an orangutan looking through bars

13. Raise the Red Flag

If you see an animal suffering in captivity, in the UK or abroad, you can report it to us and find out how you can speak out against it.  You can also check out our Raise the Red Flag map, to make sure you avoid visiting any facilities where animal suffering as been reported.
An aeroplane flying in a dark cloudy sky

14. Consider your everyday choices

Consider how your everyday choices impact the environment and nature. Flying less and eating less meat are two of the most impactful changes that you can make, as a consumer, to lessen the impact of climate change and help biodiversity around the world.
Close up of a bee on the pollen stems of a flower

15. Be a bee hero!

If you see a tired-looking bee on the ground this summer, it might just need a little pick-me-up – two teaspoons of white sugar mixed with one teaspoon of water, left on a plate or dripped on a flower, could be the energy boost they need!
A male lion sits on a wooden platform looking into the distance

16. Adopt a Born Free animal

Adopt a wild animal with Born Free. You can give an animal adoption as a gift, with a personalised adoption pack, that’s perfect for any animal lover. You will help provide the care and protection your individual animal or species needs and all of the proceeds will support our work to protect animals in the wild.
An elephant stands at the entrance to a zoo enclosure

17. Ban elephants in zoos

Sign Born Free’s petition for an Elephant-Free UK and encourage others to do the same. These magnificent animals deserve so much better than living a life in cramped, unnatural zoo conditions, and you can help us put an end to it.
School children sat around a table

18. Nominate Born Free

Suggest Born Free or another wildlife charity as a ‘chosen charity’ at your work or school – then they can organise fundraisers throughout the year to help wild animals.

19. Peacefully protest

Unlock your inner activist – if you’re passionate about nature and the environment, consider linking up with local groups, eg Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, and joining non-violent protests to support your cause.
A group of five lion cubs, the one in the middle with tis mouth wide open

20. Talk, talk, talk

Spread optimism by sharing positive stories of wildlife, not least on social, rather than ‘doom and gloom’. You’ll let people know there is hope and something impactful is being done to protect and conserve animals. Why not start by checking our latest news!
A badger is standing in long grass, facing towards the camera

21. Help end the UK badger cull

Help Born Free protect badgers in the UK – sign our petition calling for the Government to end the badger cull and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
An orange 'slow down' road sign in the foreground and a winding road behind

22. Drive with care

If you’re a motorist, drive carefully with wild animals in mind. Drive at an appropriate speed, especially if you see signs for wildlife crossings, and give way to crossing animals on highways to reduce road kills and accidents involving animals.
Two dolphins jumping through hoops

23. Boycott zoos and dolphinaria

Stay away from zoos, dolphinaria and other ‘attractions’ with captive wild animals – these animals are being exploited and cannot live natural lives. By boycotting zoos and encouraging others to do the same, you are sending the message that you only want to see wild animals in the wild!

24. Create shelters for frogs and toads

Compost heaps and log piles in your garden are excellent, or you can make a toad home by turning a plant pot upside down, making a hole in the side and filling with leaves. Could your child’s school get involved and create a shelter in their playground?
A rat peering over the top of a plank of wood

25. Find humane solutions

If you have a problem with a wild animal species considered by some to be a ‘pest’, try to take a humane approach. NEVER use glue traps, and avoid using slug pellets, as many contain metaldehyde which will kill a range of wildlife, including hedgehogs.
Close up of hands cupping a tree seedling

26. Plant a tree for Earth Day

Trees are key to biodiverse landscapes flourishing and attract all types of wildlife. If you have space, you can plant one at home, or do some research to find a nature reserve or park near you that’s holding a tree planting event for Earth Day, on 22nd April.
The head of a dead lion mounted on a wall

27. Ban UK trophy imports

Join our campaign to ban the import of hunting trophies from threatened species including elephants and lions. If people can’t bring their ‘trophies’ back to the UK, they might be less likely to book a trophy hunting trip - click here to visit our Get The Ban Done page to find out more.
A serval cat wearing a collar and lead

28. Say no to wild pets

Never consider buying a wild animal to keep as a pet. Whatever the species, from African pygmy hedgehogs, to axolotls, reptiles, parrots, primates and servals, wild animals may be dangerous and do not make good pets. Wild animals deserve to live a natural life in the wild.
A swift flying against a blue sky background

29. Add a swift box

Put up a swift box on the outside of your house – these amazing birds are in decline and each of us can really help by giving them somewhere to nest; and no garden or trees are needed!
Close up of an election voting paper and a pen

30. Urge local candidates to fight for wild animals

You can contact your local parliamentary candidates for the next General Election when they're announced, and ask them to pledge to improve wildlife protection and animal welfare if they come into power. Born Free's Manifesto is a great starting point to share with candidates.

31. Go bat-friendly

They might have a spooky reputation but there is nothing to fear about these little creatures! Night scented flowers, such as honeysuckle or evening primrose, help attract bats.; bat boxes should be placed as high as possible and never use preservatives on the wood as this is toxic to bats. 
A pangolin clinging upside down on a tree branch

32. Share fun facts

Know a fun fact about wild animals? Share it! Share random facts whenever you have an opportunity, to get people thinking, build interest and start conversations. People can fail to act to help wild animals because they don’t realise they can get involved and that wild animals need their support.
A black pair of binoculars on top of an open book with images of owls on the pages

33. Citizen science

Participate in a ‘citizen science’ project to help environmental organisations find out more about the state of nature. Whether it’s a national bat or bird count or recording exotic species you see in the wild on holiday such as lions, you can take part from anywhere in the world.
A jeep on a dirt track driving through an arid landscape, with elephants in the background

34. Choose ethical tourism

Plan an animal-friendly eco-tourism trip! There are plenty of ways to see wild animals in their natural environments, from visiting an RSPB site for bird watching in the UK, to going on an ethical safari in Africa.
A selection of items carved from ivory, including elephant ornaments, laid out on a blue cloth

35. Say no to wild trinkets

Say no to buying trophies or items made from any part of a wild animal. This includes ivory, coral and animal skins and will help reduce the killing of animals for trade - which believe it or not, is still perfectly legal in many cases!
Close up of a black bird splashing in a bird bath table

36. Help wild birds flourish

Put out a bird table or feeders, and a bird bath or water bowl – make sure both are cleaned regularly, and they could be a lifeline for local birds. It can be as much of a struggle to find water in the summer as it is to find food in the winter!
A bonfire alight at night, in front of a lake

37. Build a hedgehog-friendly bonfire

They’re one of Britain’s most beloved wild animals, but bonfire night can cause serious injuries or even kill hedgehogs – so please follow our guide to building a hedgehog-safe bonfire, and take as many precautions as you can as well as spreading the word.

38. Garden corridors

Create an urban wildlife corridor in your own back garden – cutting small openings in fence lines can help terrestrial animals like hedgehogs move around more easily to find food and stay safe.
A close-up photo of a tiger in the wild

39. Raise awareness on social media

Share information about the wild animals you love the most on social media, helping to educate others about the challenges these animals face, and letting them know what they can do to help.  Find out more about your favourite animals on our species pages!
A group of gulls flying together, with a blue sky background

40. Reduce local wildlife conflict

Take small steps to reduce conflict between people and wildlife. Animal-proof your rubbish bins to protect them from raiding, and prevent species considered by some as ‘pests’, like gulls, foxes and rats, from having a reason to visit you!
An orangutan sitting in luscious green treetops

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