Frequently Asked Questions

What is Defenders' mission?

Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. We work to protect and restore America's native wildlife, safeguard habitat, resolve conflicts, work across international borders and educate and mobilize the public. For more information, go to

How does my money donated for an adoption or gift help wildlife?

Defenders is proud of how carefully we spend your contributions to save America's wildlife and wild places. Please see our Annual Report.

Is my adoption or gift order tax-deductible?

Yes. Your adoption or gift order is tax-deductible to the full extent allowable by law. Typically, at least 80% of your donation will be tax-deductible and often much more if you don't choose to receive a plush animal or Apparel item. Your receipt (on last page after completing order and by email) will indicate the amount of your donation that is tax-deductible.

How long will it take to receive my adoption or gift package?

The estimated shipping time is indicated at the bottom of every Adoption Center web page. During holiday periods, orders are shipped more frequently and require less time to arrive. The US Postal Service does not guarantee delivery times.

During peak holiday periods, express shipping is available at an additional $6 per item and super express shipping is available for $15 per item. To take advantage of Defenders' express shipping offer, choose the express shipping option for each item that you wish to have express shipped on the Checkout or Cart page.

Can the Certificate to my gift recipient be personalized?

Yes, you can personalize your Adoption Certificate or Wolf-Saving Gift Certificate with the recipient's name by entering it in the required field on the item's order page. However, if you do not fill in this field, the certificate name will default to the shipping name. If you choose to leave the certificate blank, please type ten underscores ("shift" + "-").Yes, even if you download your certificate, your recipient can still look forward to receiving the adoption or wolf-saving gift kit in the mail.

What if I don't want the plush toy animal or all the "stuff"?

For any adoption, you can choose not to receive the animal plush on the order page for a specific adoption. This will maximize the amount of your donation going to save our imperiled animals.

Can I ship an adoption or gift outside of the US?

Unfortunately, we are unable to ship any part of an adoption or gift kit outside the US.

Can I make an adoption or gift outside the US?

We are unable to ship adoption or gift orders internationally; however, anyone can make an adoption or gift from anywhere in the world so long as it is shipped within the U.S.

There are other ways to support Defenders' work as well! Non-US residents can donate online at or mail a donation (check or money order in U.S. currency) to:

Defenders of Wildlife
National Headquarters
1130 17th Street, NW 
Washington, DC 20036

Please note that these donations will not result in an adoption order. The only way to order an adoption is to visit the wildlife adoptions on our website or call (800) 385-9712.

When I adopt, am I adopting an actual animal? 

No. When you participate in the adoption program, you are not adopting a real animal; however, your donation will further our work with that species as well as our work on other imperiled wildlife and the habitat it needs to survive.

Can I give an adoption in memory of or in honor of a person or pet?

Yes, you may. When you select an adoption, you will have the opportunity to tell us if it's in memory of, in honor of, in celebration of, or in tribute to a person or pet. Be sure to include the name of the person or pet so that we can include it on the Certificate.

Can I gift-wrap my adoption order?

Yes, you may. When you select an adoption, you will have the opportunity to tell us if you wish it to be gift-wrapped in an environmentally friendly, reusable tote bag made from 100% recycled plastic. You or your gift recipient can reuse this sturdy tote as gift-wrapping or for your groceries or books. The reusable tote is offered for an additional $8 donation. The reusable tote is not currently offered for Wolf-Saving Gifts or Gifts & Gear orders.

Can I adopt more than one animal or gift at a time? 

Absolutely! Just choose all the animal adoptions and gifts you'd like, then proceed to checkout where they will appear in your shopping cart.

I'm giving this adoption as a gift. What will the gift recipient receive? 

For every adoption gift given, the gift recipient will receive:

  • A personalized Certificate of Adoption, 5x7 Photo, and frame.
  • All animal adoptions at $45 or more also receive a plush replica of the adopted animal.

Where and how are the animal plushes and other gifts made?

To maximize the funds that we can spend on our innovative and successful wildlife conservation efforts, we must keep the costs of acquiring special gifts, or "premiums," at the lowest possible level in our global economy. We have found sources in China to be reliable producers of low-cost goods of a quality high enough to bear the Defenders logo. We work with a supplier that is very concerned about worker safety and health - so much so that they have visited the facility multiple times and have conducted social audits to ensure adherence to labor practice requirements. In addition, our supplier has conducted testing on our plush animals, and they are well under the established safety guidelines for lead and other chemicals.