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Endangered Species: The gift of conservation

Support glacier research this Christmas (courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

Support glacier research this Christmas (courtesy: Wikimedia Commons)

By Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter
Wednesday, December 18, 2013, 1:30 PM

There's one week until Christmas and if you're still scratching your head about what to get your loved ones, here are some suggestions that will appeal to the animal and nature lovers in your life.

1. A WWF plush toy is a great gift for kids and adults alike. When you donate to the WWF, you're helping a conservation organization with a presence in 100 countries. A $50.00 donation allows you to "adopt" a species, and there are more than 100 to choose from.

As a token of appreciation, you'll receive a plush toy fashioned in the image of your chosen species, along with an adoption certificate and a gift bag. The stuffed animals are incredibly adorable, but our top picks are the three-toed sloth, the clouded leopard and the clown fish.

2. A tree seed kit from Trees Canada makes a great stocking stuffer for the gardener in your family. This $2.00 pack includes white spruce tree seeds, a biodegradable planter, peat pellet and bilingual instructions.

3. If your loved ones are concerned about Arctic ice melt, you can adopt a glacier on their behalf.  Your funds will go to the Roger G. Barry Archives and Resource Center (ARC), a data management and scientific research organization that preserves historical research data to further the study of glaciers. "Your adoption is only symbolic, but you can learn about your glacier and watch it change," the organization says.

A donation to the Big Cats Initiative can help support the African Lion (courtesy: Lori Branham/Flickr Creative Commons)

A donation to the Big Cats Initiative can help support the African Lion (courtesy: Lori Branham/Flickr Creative Commons)

4. Duck lovers would be happy to receive a gift is that supports Canada's wetlands. With a donation of $25 or more to Ducks Canada, your recipient will receive a personalized card letting them know you have donated on their behalf.

5. If you're within driving distance of Sidney, B.C., consider an annual membership to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. You'll get discounts at the aquarium, free access to lectures and guest speaker events, and a monthly newsletter  -- among other things. You'll also be supporting the preservation of the Salish sea.

6. Big cats are in trouble. Lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards and jaguars, among others are quickly disappearing -- all victims of habitat loss, sport hunting and human activity. In response to this critical situation, the National Geographic Society has launched the Big Cats Initiative. The program supports conservation, education, and economic incentive efforts while raising global awareness. Donating is quick and easy -- you can transfer funds online, or text “LIONS” to 50555 to donate $10.

7. The Nature Conservancy is offering tags for Hawksbill turtles -- a critically endangered species. A gift of $40 allows researchers to better protect turtles' nests from predators and erosion. Tag monitors are sometimes on hand to help newly-hatched turtles make it out to sea.

8. Endangered Species chocolates creates all natural, ethically-traded chocolate in a variety of flavours. Ten percent of net profits are donated to habitat and species conservation.

9. If you're looking for something special to wrap your gifts in, check out Eden's Paper. This company produces 100% plantable paper products, using inks and papers that are 100% environmentally friendly. Here's the really cool part: The wrapping paper is embedded with vegetable seeds, so once you've unwrapped your gift you can plant the paper in the ground as-is. 

These are just a few suggestions. Many local zoos, animal sanctuaries and protected parks offer unique gifts that you can give this holiday season. If you're still pressed for ideas, get in touch with your favourite conservation group -- you never know what you might discover.

More by this author
Endangered Species: Art for wildlife
Endangered Species: The Blanding's turtle
Endangered Species: The African lion
Endangered Species: The de-extinction controversy

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