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Give the gift of wildlife preservation this holiday

December 14th, 2011

From Green Right Now Reports

Environmental groups make it easy this time of year to send someone on your list a gift that benefits wildlife.

WORLD WILDLIFE FUND

People who donate $250 to help the world's 3,200 wild tigers receive a big plush thank you from WWF.

As it has for years, the World Wildlife Fund offers animal cuddlies and “adoption” certificates to those who donate $25, $50 or $100, making it easy for parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles to symbolically adopt an endangered species as part of a gift package to a child, or to anyone who’s fond of cheetahs, tigers, polar bears, monarch butterflies, chimpanzees, bonobos or dozens of other imperiled species.

Sadly, it’s a long list.

WWF also asks potential donors to consider giving to specific programs, such as the one they operate in South Africa where they’re trying to save some of the last rhinos in the world, following the extinction of the Western Black Rhino and the Java Rhino. You can read more here about how conservationists have relocated some rhinos to protect them from poachers who kill them just for their horns, which are falsely believed to have medicinal qualities.

ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE FUND

EDF helps save sea turtles by providing fishing nets with escape hatches.

The Environmental Defense Fund also runs a fundraiser, called Presents for the Planet, that’s focused on saving endangered animals and critical habitats.

Donors designate a program/species they’d like to support and send in a cash contribution. EDF forwards notice of their gift to the gift recipient. There are no stuffed animal rewards, but the group touts its program as eco-friendly because there’s also no paperwork involved. It’s all handled by email, maximizing the donation.

EDF’s programs have taken aim at several specific problems. One program is mitigating the loss of sea turtles to fishing nets, where the swimming turtles often become ensnared and drown. EDF provides fishing crews with turtle-safe nets that prevent such devastating collateral damage, allowing turtles to escape as the net is pulled through the water.

EDF also offers a tropical forest conservation plan for unabashed tree huggers through its work with Brazil to save rainforest, a project that protects countless animals and helps slow climate change.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION

Walrus face diminishing ice and marine food sources.

The National Wildlife Federation also has gone paperless, putting its gift catalog online. Like WWF, NWF has set up a wide range of animal adoptions, but with more focus on North America.

There may not be anywhere else you can “adopt” a walrus for $20, $50, $75 or $100. Walrus, like so many animals, are on thin ice these days, with their habitat shrinking and climate change threatening their internal migration clock as well.

Other animals featured include North American icons, like wild bison, jaquars, American eagles, barn owls and caribou. Caribou, another highly adapted species, face the twin threats of warming permafrost and vanishing habitat as boreal forest is lost to logging and energy exploration.

Without conservation efforts, we could soon face a world in which reindeer turn up only in Christmas tales.



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