—Presented by Ubisoft Future Games of London—
Not many people ask for a real live narwhal for Christmas — but they would if they thought of it. Symbolic ocean animal adoptions are an adorable way to creatively acknowledge someone's love of animals, the ocean and/or environmental advocacy.
Plus, you get the added satisfaction of knowing you helped a conservation organization protect our blue planet and its inhabitants.
Go ahead. Give someone the gift of saying they got a hammerhead for the holidays. Presenting the 15 coolest ocean animals you can adopt as holiday gifts:
1. Hammerhead Shark
We first heard about this awesome program during Shark Week when Ubisoft Future Games of London adopted a tiger shark from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (while in South Florida with Oceana!).
Not only did they get to name their shark (Charlie), but they also were granted the ability to track him online using an interactive Google Earth map. Check it out!
If you're willing to make such a generous gift, you'll have the privilege of doing the same. It's a teensy bit pricier than that generic pair of mittens you were considering buying Mom, but how many people can say they got to name and track a real-live shark?!
The university mostly tags hammerhead, tiger and bull sharks, and the adoption price covers the cost of one new satellite tag. Scientists need data to combat the decline of many shark populations, and the technology required to obtain that data ain't cheap.
So spend your money on something that matters this season — you'll be gifting your loved one, scientists and sharks simultaneously. Learn more here.
2. Sea Otter
As much as we'd love to find a fluffy baby otter under the tree, pet otters aren't the best idea. The next best thing? This symbolic otter adoption via Oceana, the world's largest ocean conservation organization (not to mention the force behind Azula).
Your gift will do more than make someone squee. All donations go toward making the world's oceans healthier and safer for future generations. What does that mean? It means helping to prevent deadly oil spills, to protect animals like polar bears and penguins from climate change, and to put an end to shark finning, bottom trawling and seafood fraud. Otter-ly cool, right? Learn more here.
3. Emperor Penguin CHICK
Nothing like a tiny-little Happy-Feet furball to spread the holiday cheer. Thanks to the World Wildlife Fund, you can symbolically adopt a BABY emperor penguin for family or friends.
The adoption kit includes the cutest, cuddliest plush a guy or gal could want, among other items like your personalized adoption certificate, a photo of your giftee's new little furchild, a species card and a WWF gift bag. But the real payoff is knowing the donation is helping WWF protect wild animals and their habitats around the world. Learn more here.
The octopus-shaped cookie cutter that comes with this adoption kit is a gift in itself. IMAGINE THE COOKIES. (FYI: It also comes with sugar-cookie recipe, because Oceana knows what the people want.)
Don't waste time in adopting this sweet little cephalopod, though: Your order needs to be placed by December 14 for guaranteed delivery by Christmas. Learn more here.
Unicorns might not be real, but unicorns of the sea are — and they're available for adoption through the World Wildlife Fund. Help the leading organization in wildlife conservation and endangered species make this planet a safe place for all creatures. Learn more here. https://gifts.worldwildlife.org/gift-center/gifts/...
6. Ringed Seal
Seriously, how could you say no to that face? These precious little pups of the sea are susceptible to ocean pollution and climate change — all things Oceana works hard to fight globally. Help them make our oceans a better place for ringed seals by symbolically adopting one. Learn more here.
7. Jackass Penguin
Maybe you want to send a different kind of message to someone this holiday season? We have the perfect thing for that special someone: a jackass penguin.
Also called an African penguin or black-footed penguin, this gift practically writes the joke for you. If you're going to insult someone, at least help the environment while doing it. Learn more here.
What's tubby, slow-moving and needs your help? No, it's not your drunk uncle at holiday festivities. It's this manatee — and others like him that need protection from pollution and dangerous fishing practices. Make an impact by adopting one from Oceana for someone on your list — your drunk uncle, perhaps? Learn more here.
9. Sea Turtle
You can literally shop for a sea turtle at SeaTurtle.org like you would “shop" for a new pet on a rescue shelter's website. Peruse photos of real-live sea turtles (paired, of course, with names like Peach and Ninja), and help save one of the seven threatened and endangered species of sea turtle.
The coolest part: Your donation supports the satellite tracking programs on SeaTurtle.org, allowing your gift recipient to track their turtle online! Learn more here.
Whale you help the National Wildlife Federation protect critical wildlife habitats with a small donation? Habitat deterioration is a real concern for belugas, thanks to industrial development and the pollution of coastal habitats. Do your part by giving your boo a beluga. Learn more here.
11. Atlantic Puffin
Fly into someone's heart with a symbolic puffin adoption from Audubon. These guys have set the standard for seabird restoration worldwide, so you know your donation will make an impact on the lives of actual puffins along the Maine coast — not to mention on your puffin-loving pal who can now consider themselves a puffin parent. Learn more here.
Who wouldn't want a walrus? Help these whiskery, tubby tater tots fight climate change by adopting one through the Defenders of Wildlife. Your donation helps this organization conduct the vital research and policy work required to protect the fragile Arctic — plus, the plush is pretty cute. Learn more here.
13. Bottlenose Dolphin
Everyone knows a dolphin fan. Give them the gift of knowing they helped these charismatic charmers by symbolically adopting one from the National Wildlife Federation. Learn more here.
14. Sea Lion
We're not lion when we say this sea lion is the gift you've been looking for. Support Friends of the national Zoo and help the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute save species by symbolically adopting a sea pup. Learn more here.
15. Humpback Whale
Give someone a humpback for the holidays through the Sierra Club's adoption program. Not only whale it makes them smile, but it'll also support the Sierra Club's conservation efforts to protect this species in Point Reyes National Seashore in California and other areas. Because no one wants a future without these gentle giants. Learn more here.