If your valentine loves animals almost as much as they love you, consider a gift that will give back to the planet’s furrier inhabitants. A number of animal conservation organizations offer clever holiday gift specials that are a welcome departure from the tired red heart-shaped treats normally exchanged on Valentine’s Day.
Send Flowers to a Lemur
The Duke Lemur Center proposes an alternative to sending flowers this Valentine’s Day: send a video of a lemur receiving flowers. The center’s website reads, “73% of Americans give or receive flowers on Valentines Day. Boooooring! This Valentine’s Day demonstrate your love by giving flowers to LEMURS in honor of your human valentine!” For a $25 donation, the center will send your valentine an e-card featuring a lemur photo and a video of the lemur receiving the flowers.
Name a Hissing Roach in Honor of Your Lover
The Bronx Zoo offers the opportunity to name a Madagascar hissing cockroach in honor of your loved one for a fee of $10. The zoo will immortalize the gesture with a digital certificate featuring a photo of two cockroaches that are so lifelike, they’re practically guaranteed to cause a racing heart. According to the zoo’s website, proceeds “will also help us protect these misunderstood love bugs, along with a lot of other animals, both big and small.” Act fast, because the $25 option, which also includes chocolates, is already sold out.
Adopt An Animal
A number of organizations offer the chance to “give the gift of life,” and adopt an animal in someone’s honor. The Farm Sanctuary allows people to pay between $120-$600 to adopt a their choice of farm animal, including geese, goats, and donkeys. Those who “adopt” an animal receive their photograph, story, and year-round visitation rights.
For a more feral option, the World Wildlife Foundation sells $55 “adoption kits” for a variety of animals including pandas, sloths, elephants, and tigers. The kits include a stuffed animal, photo, and adoption certificate. The website reads, “Your symbolic adoption supports WWF’s global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats.”
Break the Lone Wolf Stereotype
The Wolf Conservation Center will send your valentine an e-card featuring your choice of nuzzling wolves for a donation ranging between $5-$100. And if you’re howling for more, you can observe the center’s ambassador wolves, some of which represent endangered species, from live webcams mounted near their den sites.