Wildlife Conservation Network


Organizational profile:
The Wildlife Conservation Network (WCN) is a United States-based 501 non-profit organization that protects endangered wildlife by supporting conservationists who ensure wildlife and people coexist and thrive. WCN does this by providing its partners with capital, strategic capacity-building services, training, and operational support.
WCN’s strategies to protect wildlife include Conservation Partners, Wildlife Funds and WCN Scholarship Program.

  • Network of Conservation Partners: WCN’s Partner Network is a select cohort of on-the-ground conservationists who operate on the frontlines and have the nimbleness and know-how to make conservation work. WCN offers these conservationists ongoing, in-depth, multi-year support, providing the financial resources, tools, and services they need to effectively protect wildlife.
  • Wildlife Funds: WCN establishes Wildlife Funds when they see a need and an opportunity to protect threatened wildlife across a larger landscape. By providing specific, short-term funding to projects from institutions big and small, WCN harnesses the power of multiple organizations working to save a species throughout its entire habitat.
  • The WCN Scholarship Program invests in the next generation of conservation leaders by providing grants for graduate education to students who are committed to working on wildlife conservation in their home countries. WCN has so far awarded 145 scholarships to promising conservationists from 46 countries with a 99% retention rate.


Financing Instrument: Grants


Project scale: N/A


Recipient countries regions/country groups: Global


Recipient categories:

  • Network of Conservation Partners: Not-for-profit organization with legal NGO/Charity equivalent status in the home country
  • WCN Scholarship Program: students from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America who are committed to working on wildlife conservation in their home countries
  • For the recipient categories of the WCN Wildlife Funds, please contact application@wildnet.org for more information.


Eligibility Criteria:

  • Network of Conservation Partners:

o   Organization is focused entirely on a species approach to conservation (any vertebrate species listed as vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered by IUCN)
o   A commitment to community-based conservation approaches wherein conservation initiatives involve significant involvement from, and benefit towards, local communities
o   Works predominantly with wild animals not held in a sanctuary or other captive facility (e.g., in situ conservation)
o   Working in a developing country
o   80% of the organizational budget is spent in range state(s) when first joining the network
o   Principal conservationist is based at least 80% of the time in range state(s)
o   Track record of effectiveness and results
o   Commitment to hiring, developing, and empowering local staff
o   Focused predominantly on conservation activities rather than research activities
o   Financial integrity, transparency, and efficiency, with fiscal processes meeting the highest standards
o   Strong collaborative ethos with demonstrated success of working with other organizations

The vast majority of WCN partners meet the following criteria:
o   Annual organizational budget less than $250,000 when first joining the network
o   Unique contribution to conservation through extraordinary entrepreneurship and/or innovation
o   Commitment to scaling up conservation efforts

  • WCN Scholarship Program: The students should be forward thinkers and out-of-the-box problem solvers, able to navigate the labyrinth of challenges they face protecting endangered wildlife with courage, optimism, stamina, and nimbleness to adapt to constantly fluctuating political and cultural landscapes—always keeping an eye on the bigger picture.
  • For eligibility criteria of the WCN Wildlife Funds, please contact application@wildnet.org for more information.


Application guidelines:

  • Network of Conservation Partners:

o   WCN selects partners through a rigorous vetting process which includes periodic site visits, quarterly financial and programmatic reporting, and consistent, meaningful contact between WCN staff and partners. WCN selects their partners from a broad pool of highly effective, entrepreneurial field programs that are representing a broad range of conservation needs across the globe.
o   WCN partnership is only offered to an organization as a whole, and they do not provide support to projects that are housed or supported within a larger, “parent” organization. If applicants are looking for support for a specific project, they may explore WCN Wildlife Funds. Only organizations that are entirely focused on the conservation of a particular species or species group as the organization’s mission are eligible for WCN partnership. Due to a high volume of requests, WCN may not be able to respond to inquiries that do not fit their requirements for partnership.
o   WCN will be adding Partners on a rolling basis, but they are not currently accepting unsolicited applications for partnership. If applicants have questions about partnership opportunities, please email application@wildnet.org.

  • WCN Scholarship Program: If applicants are interested, please email scholarship@wildnet.org for more information. Note that applicants must be nominated by a pre-approved/eligible nominator. The call for nominations will open in October of each year, and it will NOT be listed publicly. 
  • For application guidelines of the WCN Wildlife Funds, please contact application@wildnet.org for more information.
Publication Date
Wednesday, 22 June 2022
Applicable location
Forest conservation and management
Forest landscape restoration
Biodiversity conservation
Financing opportunities