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6 Ocean Animals You Can Help Save on Giving Tuesday

One single gift could make a difference for countless marine wildlife this year

© JAMES R.D. SCOTT

The first Tuesday after Thanksgiving each year is a special day known as Giving Tuesday. 

This year, it’s fast approaching!


Giving Tuesday is both symbolic and significant, as people all over the world take time out of their busy lives to pause to reflect on what a gift the act of giving truly is itselfand do something to give back to countless charitable causes. From the air we breathe to the water we drink, our ocean gives to us in abundance and without restraint. It’s vital that we protect and preserve it, both for our own health and that of the well-being of future generations. There are so many ways that your gift this Giving Tuesday will help protect our ocean, and the following are just a handful of wondrous marine species that you can help through your gift this holiday season.

Ringed Seals

(Pusa hispida)

KAIDO HAAGEN
© Kaido Haagen / National Geographic

The smallest of all seal species, ringed seals may also top the list as one of the most adorable. These pinnipeds tend to stay close to icy shores, but have the jaw-dropping ability to excavate ice by using the claws on their front flippers to build breathing holes! They love the chilly waters of the Arctic, and munch on fish like polar cod. Sadly, however, the Arctic waters they call home are heating up fast. Climate change is the largest threat to this species; as sea ice melts, more water opens up for ship traffic and oil drilling, bringing heightened levels of noise, water pollution and an even higher risk of damaging oil spills. Through your Giving Tuesday donation, you can help us work to protect this vulnerable region and species like the ringed seal who call it home.

Clownfish

(Amphiprioninae)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
© Kristin Himelein

Who doesn’t love Nemo? These little fish are quite picky when it comes to their homes, with only about ten out of a thousand or so anemone species being a suitable host for them. Fascinatingly, the mucus layer on their skin gives them immunity to the sting of anemone nematocysts, a mechanism most other fish don’t have. That makes a clownfish’s host anemone both their humble abode and partner in crime! However, in order to remain safe and protected in their cozy homes, clownfish rely heavily on healthy anemones and reef ecosystems. Ocean acidification is one of the biggest threats these fish face today, as increased levels of carbon dioxide both threaten their homes and neighborhoods and dull the fishes’ senses, making it all the more difficult for them to navigate and find their way home. Your support on Giving Tuesday can help us fund projects that work toward resolving issues like ocean acidification, helping to keep this iconic species thriving and safe from harm.

Hammerhead Sharks

(Sphyrnidae)

Kimberly Jeffries
© Kimberly Jeffries

One of the most recognizable sharks in our ocean, there are actually nine different species of hammerhead sharks—the largest of which can grow to be up to 20 feet long! Truly a one-of-a-kind species, these sharks love the warm waters of the tropics, and can often be round hanging out around coral reef ecosystems. Unfortunately, these iconic sharks are also endangered. Highly prone to entanglement in fishing gear, bycatch is one of the biggest threats facing this species. Your donation today can help us work toward developing program initiatives that keep our fisheries practices safe and sustainable so that wildlife like hammerhead sharks aren’t put in harm’s way. Through the development of informed, smart fishery management strategies and the implementation of science-based safety precautions, we can make sure that we’re working toward an ocean where sharks are protected, healthy and thriving for years to come.

Manatees

(Trichechus manatus)

public domain
Public Domain

Sometimes nicknamed ‘sea cows,’ these lovable marine mammals can grow to be up to 10 feet long and weigh more than 1,000 pounds! These Gulf of Mexico residents move at an incredibly relaxed pace, slowly wandering canals and coastal areas where vegetation like mangrove leaves and seagrasses are plentiful. What many people don’t realize, however, is that manatees are extremely vulnerable to harm induced by human activities. Scars and cuts on their skin serve as a stark reminder of hits from boat propellers and fast-moving watersports vehicles. They’re also highly prone to ingesting improperly disposed fishing hooks and plastic pieces. All in all, if we’re causing these animals biggest threats, we can help solve these problems, too. Your donation can help us work toward a more healthy and much safer habitat for these precious gentle giants.

Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtles

(Lepidochelys kempii)

kemps ridley
Public Domain

As the world’s most endangered sea turtle species, the Kemp’s Ridley is currently listed as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The population was greatly impacted by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in 2011; after the disaster, over 75% of recovered sea turtles killed in the crisis were Kemp’s Ridleys. This species’ nesting areas overlap in Gulf regions that are near major oil drilling sites, posing a major threat to both adult sea turtles and hatchlings alike. Here at Ocean Conservancy, we have worked tirelessly toward solutions that help restore the Gulf of Mexico from the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and we’re committed to ensuring sea turtle species like the Kemp’s Ridley are protected from threats like these in the future. Your donation on Giving Tuesday can help us develop even more plans and resources to keep the Gulf healthy and recover sea turtle populations like the precious Kemp’s Ridley.

Whale Sharks

(Rhincodon typus)

Stefan Follows
© Stefan Follows

While all ocean species are threatened by today’s growing marine debris crisis, whale sharks are just one example of a species that’s hugely and directly impacted by the dangers of ocean plastic pollution—specifically microplastics. As plastic remains in the ocean over time, it breaks down into tinier and tinier pieces, eventually accidentally ingested by countless species of nearly all marine ecosystems. Filter feeders like whale sharks are especially vulnerable to this type of environmental threat. Whale sharks gulp up hundreds of thousands of gallons of ocean water a day, filtering out nutrients while retaining some of their favorite foods, such as plankton.

However, animals who ingest and process more seawater are even more prone to the dangers of microplastic pollution, with scientists now estimating that these creatures likely consume hundreds of pieces of plastic every single day. At Ocean Conservancy, our Trash Free Seas® program is working toward solutions to combat this global marine debris problem every day. Your Giving Tuesday donation could help us move toward developing global, actionable, science-based solutions to help save species like these gentle giants!


At the end of the day, even the most modest donation to Ocean Conservancy this Giving Tuesday could make a world of a difference. No matter whether you are Nemo’s biggest fan or have loved manatees since you were a child, every dollar counts this year and can make a difference in the future of these animals.

Ready to donate? We couldn’t be more thankful for your generous support during this holiday season of giving.

Click here and get ready to make a difference for all ocean wildlife this Giving Tuesday!

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Public Domain

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