Please don’t adopt a Snow Leopard

Just seen this advert on television.
I might be over reacting, but you may know this topic is an important one not just for me but for a lot of people across the UK, most of whom you will never meet.

Be careful watching the advert below may change your life… (then again…)

Reasons to Adopt a Snow Leopard

1. Snow Leopards  are very cute.
2. Snow Leopards are a wonderful part of God’s creation.
3.  Snow Leopards are an endangered species.

But genuinely adopting a snow leopard will turn your life upside down.

Let me give you 5 reasons not to ADOPT a Snow Leopard.

1. Adoption involves offering a Snow leopard the same place in your family as your birth children this is probably an unwise move.
2. Adopting a Snow Leopard means making a snow leopard eligible to an equal share of your estate on your death this is a big investment.
3. Adopting a Snow Leopard means you promise to do your utmost to meet all the needs that a Snow Leopard may have for the rest of your life this is a life long commitment.
4.  Adopting a Snow Leopard means your children get a new sibling to share your affections – this could get awkward.
5. Adopting a Snow Leopard means taking on board all the trauma that animal may have received and may have psychologically or physically wounded them for life – this is a huge commitment for anybody.

How about instead we limit the concept of adoption to children who are in need of a family.

There are 6000 waiting children in the UK alone. We can’t really make adverts about them in the same way as the Snow leopard.
Let’s not demean what these children need most in their life by likening it to a temporary financial arrangement a charity might want you to undertake with a beautiful but in the end distant animal. Let’s not call giving financially to a charity that supports wild animals adoption; lets call it sponsorship.

Animal sponsorship has its place – but the concept of it is often based on using guilt, sympathy or fear to get you to give regularly to a programme.
If you do sponsor a snow leopard you get a nice picture to put on your fridge, you get the conscience easing feeling that you are making a difference, you may even get letters from your sponsored animal. You are helping a particular animal (ok  sometimes you are not twinned with a particular animal it is a programme you are supporting instead) to have a better life. You might want to check if the programme you are supporting really is helping in the long run – some animal welfare programmes create dependencies which mean the animal is never going to be any good in the wild again but will always need to rely on donor intervention – so you might not have done good to the animal in the long term. So please consider sponsoring a snow leopard.

But definitely consider offering a child that needs one a home for good through adoption.


So by all means sponsor a snow leopard but lets save adoption for children there really is no comparison.

About the author: Krish Kandiah

Founding Director: Home for Good Executive Producer: Books for Life Vice President: Tearfund Tutor: Regents Park College, Oxford University

20 comments to “Please don’t adopt a Snow Leopard”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.

  1. Ailish Eves (Lish) - January 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm Reply

    Thanks, Krish. I have been steaming away since the advert for Snow Leopard started. So glad you are doing something a lot better than steaming.

  2. Jim - January 14, 2014 at 8:57 am Reply

    Are you actually serious? I can’t believe what I’m reading here. Adopting a child and adopting a snow leopard on a purely financial basis (and a very tiny financial contribution at that) cannot even be compared in the smallest sense.

    I think you need to go outside more.

  3. Chris Wooff - January 15, 2014 at 9:05 am Reply

    “If you do sponsor a child you get a nice picture to put on your fridge” I assume you mean “animal”!

  4. Giovanni Muralo - June 21, 2014 at 10:55 pm Reply

    Are you an idiot? You can’t seriously be that dumb. Adopting a snow leopard, as advertised, does NOT mean bringing the animal home and raising it as part of your family. It’s a “symbolic” adoption. It’s a donation to the WWF. You don’t get an actual snow leopard. You’re donating money to them to help them in their fight to protect endangered animals, animal rights, etc.

    Therefor all of you “why not to” points are completely invalid. You have no duty or obligation to the animal. You don’t share the animal with your family. It’s not even really a sponsorship. It’s a donation to the WWF and in return you get a stuffed animal and a certificate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

    And how you can possibly relate this to adopting a child is madness. You could never support a child for $3 a month. And you can’t “adopt” a child in any country by donating to an orphanage and telling them “hey, I’ll send you $3 a month, but you have to keep the child there”. One has NOTHING to do with the other, and NO ONE is going to sit there and say “I would love to adopt a son, but see I just adopted this snow leopard for $3 a month from the WWF, so I’m kind of tied right now”.

    Please tell me this is a joke. You should be flagged for trolling.

    • Krish Kandiah - June 22, 2014 at 7:49 am Reply

      Thanks for your comment – perhaps you missed the nuance of what I was saying. I was contesting the word adoption being used about something that clearly isn’t adoption. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough. It would be wrong to call it “divorce a snow leopard” just because once a month you have money deducted from your account – the similarities between animal sponsorship and adoption are equally tenuous. I am an adoption campaigner and cat lover – but I am expressing my opinion that adoption is not the right word to use. Are you saying I shouldn’t be allowed to express my opinion about this? Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion on my blog.

    • John Falmer - August 3, 2014 at 8:57 am Reply

      Would someone please explain how a Snow leopard running wild can be adopted. This charity cannot get anywhere near these animals either to feed or to give any medical treatment needed . neither can they protect them from poachers. If the Army and Police of these countries with all their resources cannot protect them, then a charity with with non of these resources, certainly cannot. We are constantly being shown films on TV of protected animals that have fallen foul of poacher. So just what is it that this charity claim they can do that the authorities cannot?

    • Lola - June 16, 2017 at 7:10 am Reply

      Are you American? I ask because Americans generally don’t understand irony. Of course he’s not suggesting you’re actually adopting a snow leopard and I’m amazed someone can be so dim as to miss the point of the article. In any case, if you really want to help snow leopards, don’t give money to WWF: it mostly goes to overpaid executives. Instead, invest in charities that promote the non-use of ‘medicine’ animals in Asia. Asians have backward views on the medicinal value of rare animals. Of course it’s all bullshit, but people like the Chinese tend not to give a shit about the environment, or anyone but themselves for that matter. They do however give a shift about making money, hence the exploitation of these creatures. Until they evolve from their primitive, deformed cultural understandings, these animals are doomed.

  5. Suzie - June 22, 2014 at 8:40 am Reply

    I get what you’re trying to say, but it’s essentially a linguistic issue. It would be impractical in any language to have a completely unique word for every concept, so some words come to have multiple meanings, and “adopt” is one of them. Presumably you don’t get upset every time you hear that someone has “adopted a political stance” or “adopted an air of superiority” or “adopted a different faith”. Most native English speakers knows that the meanings in the contexts above are different than in the meaning of adopting a child, and that the meaning is different again in the context of adopting an animal. I think that’s where the confusion lies in the previous comments – most people who watched the advert immediately understood that the word was being used in a specific context and had a specific meaning, so they don’t see why you didn’t understand that.
    Being passionate about a concept (and I have an IMMENSE amount of admiration for your passion and the work you do to raise the profile of adoption in the church) doesn’t mean that you get to claim the word denoting that concept as your own and delete all of its other meanings and nuances from the language.

  6. Suzie - June 22, 2014 at 8:41 am Reply

    *Most native English speakers knows that the meanings in the contexts above are different than in the CONTEXT of adopting a child, and…

  7. Mbiru - June 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm Reply

    Indeed adoption is too strong a word to use for the act of sending money to the WWF to support a snow leopard. If I sent even a thousand pounds every month to an orphan, it may be kind and a good civic deed but it’s not adoption.
    By the same token, if the snow leopard lived in my house like a pet cat, adoption would still be too strong a word.
    It’s good to look after animals but it’s far better to look after people. After all God has placed his likeness in people not animals. Like the author, I think accurate semantics is a good place to start.

  8. Andy - June 23, 2014 at 1:20 am Reply

    Krish, so glad your wrote this – as an adoptive parent it drives me crazy that zoo and wildlife charities use this language.

    Sure, ‘adopt’ has nuanced meanings but clearly the one that charities want people to think about is the one of ‘treasure as your own’. The ‘cute’ cuddly toy and photo, the ‘adoption pack’ etc. is all indicative of it.

    But adoption isn’t so easily taken over and your sardonic post is well aimed and well timed. Adoption is not short term, not financially focused and not cute and cuddly. It’s far more important, costly, lasting and real.

  9. Sam - July 26, 2014 at 12:29 pm Reply

    Wow, I can’t believe what I’m actually reading from people like Krish and Mbiru. Not only is Susie right in her explanation of the definition of adoption and perhaps some people need to refer to the dictionary meaning, but all living creatures including men, women and children as well as all animals deserve a right to live and to be cared for by the more fortunate. I wasn’t going to bring god into this, but since Mbiru started on the bandwagon, don’t forget that god made all living creatures and how do you know his likeness is in people, I don’t believe anyone has met god to confirm or deny this.

    Animal charity organizations used the adoption programs to encourage people to invest a little money in saving endangered species from extinction, but I guess for some people it doesn’t matter, their children and adopted children can read and see pictures of animals in books, it doesn’t matter that they no longer exist.

    So, before I leave this site never to return because of the ‘dumb’ people as Giovanni politely put it, maybe it’s noting that all humans and animals need saving and adopting!! Also before you start criticizing my post just to give you some information I own 4 cats, I sponsor children and animals overseas including a number of bears and I’m in the process of adopting a young toddler.

  10. Ian - December 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm Reply

    I agree with John Falmer, it would take 1000 helecopters on round the clock surveillance for a year to perhaps save the life of one snow leapard. A cuddly toy doesn’t do it.

  11. leopard - March 12, 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply

    You’re a retard

  12. kent - May 3, 2017 at 10:09 am Reply

    @leopard – well said. I cannot believe how brain dead people are these damn days.

  13. Blind Own - October 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm Reply

    I see where your coming from, and i dont see why they use the term ” adoption ” . Instead, they should just ask to donate, not to full out OWN one

  14. Noodle - November 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm Reply

    This website makes me sick. You should be ashamed of yourself. Animals will all be gone soon and then all we’ll have left are human beings- I hope you’ll be happy then.

  15. Gamingma22ter - November 16, 2017 at 9:22 am Reply

    I like turtles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.