It is tempting to imagine wild animals as healthy adults acting out the optimal life history to which they are adapted. Unfortunately, common life-history strategies effectively guarantee that this image is not representative of what most individuals will actually experience. In many species, a minority survive to maturity, even if those who do reach adulthood may be capable of long lives.

The complex life histories of many species mean that juveniles interact with their world differently than adults. They have different capabilities and face different risks. They may inhabit entirely different habitats or even have different body forms, as is often seen in insects and amphibians. This raises the possibility that the truncated lives of animals who die young may be characterized by very different levels of welfare, for better or worse.

At Wild Animal Initiative, their objective is to improve the well-being of as many animals as possible. Therefore, they prioritize work on the most numerous wild animals, such as rodents, fish, and even invertebrates. The same logic leads us to prioritize research into the early lives of wild animals. While only some animals will survive to experience adulthood, a much greater proportion experience what life is like as a juvenile member of their species.

Therefore, they are pleased to solicit proposals for research on the welfare, ecology, and everyday experiences of juvenile wild animals. Relevant projects might include studies that extend captive animal welfare assessment techniques to juvenile wild animals or those that demonstrate how ecological concepts can relate to wild animal health and wellbeing.


  • Providing funds for whatever is required for the project to be completed.
  • However, they prioritize funding for direct research costs such as supplies, materials, and travel.
  • Funding for other expense areas (such as stipends, salaries, or durable goods) should be fully justified relative to the project goals.


  • Wild Animal Initiative provides grants for research projects that help us understand and improve the lives of wild animals. Eligible projects will shed light on one of the following questions:
    • What are the subjective experiences of wild animals like?
    • What strategies can we use to improve the welfare of wild animals responsibly?
  • All final proposals will be required to explain how their anticipated results could inform part of a holistic welfare assessment based on the Five Domains framework of animal welfare (Mellor et al. 2020, Figure 1). They will prioritize eligible projects insofar as they:
    • Are especially likely to enable or motivate further welfare-relevant research, such as by establishing foundational concepts, developing novel methods, or engaging with areas of active discourse.
    • Are especially unlikely to attract interest from other funders.
    • Are relevant to especially numerous taxa.

Eligible Regions: Open for All


  • Read the call for proposals, which includes selection criteria and detailed examples of eligible activities.
  • Complete the brief expression of interest form by August 29, 2021.
  • In September, they will invite select applicants to submit full proposals (due December 5, 2021).
  • Decisions are expected by January 28, 2022.
  • Apply online through the Apply Now link.

Application Deadline: August 29, 2021


 For Further Queries Luke Hecht

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