Whales are notoriously difficult to buy for. They look terrible in sweaters, they have no use for a jar of homemade jam, and the latest gadgets don’t work 100 feet under the sea. So, what do you get a whale that has everything? An eco-friendly gift that keeps on giving, of course.

Here are seven whale-friendly gift ideas.

Photo by Brendon Bissonnette / Eagle Wing Tours
  1. Adopt a killer whale

When you adopt a whale through the Ocean Wise BC Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program, you’ll become a key partner in long-term research studies. Research is expensive work with endless travel, equipment, boat and maintenance costs, so your donation will help protect our killer whale populations and educate governments and the public of their ecosystem needs.

Adoption through this program is symbolic—you don’t actually get to bring a whale home!— but you will get to pick your favourite whale and choose an adoption package that fits your budget. All packages come with:

  • Adoption certificate
  • Plush killer whale
  • Killer whale fact booklet
  • Killer whale collector card
  • And more! Depending on the level of support (adopt a specific whale or adopt a whole pod!).

Meet the whales and give them the gift of a more sustainable future!

Photo by Valerie Shore / Eagle Wing Tours
  1. Become a Center for Whale Research member

The Center for Whale Research (CWR) is an internationally recognized pioneer in marine mammal photo identification and research. Based in Washington State’s San Juan Islands near Victoria, they’re dedicated to the study and conservation of the critically endangered southern resident killer whale (orca) population in the Pacific Northwest.

CWR has recently seen a dramatic reduction in government funding, so they need your help more than ever. When you become a member of this great organization, you’ll receive access to:

  • Resident and transient (Bigg’s) ID guides
  • WHALE Report newsletter, which includes population updates, field reports, exclusive videos, free photo downloads, and more
  • Email notifications of the most recent encounters

Plus, you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you’ve made a direct contribution to killer whale conservation, education and advocacy.

  1. Sponsor a sign, or a humpback whale

Support research, education and wildlife response with the Marine Education and Research Society (MERS). Sponsor a “See a Blow? Go Slow!” sign in the name of your favourite family member or friend who already has everything.

You can also sponsor a humpback whale if that’s more up your alley, which includes a card with a photo, USB stick with biography, photos and humpback sounds recorded in the area, and an update on your sponsored whale within the year. Prefer a gift you can wrap up? Check out their online shop for some unique, locally-made treasures for the ocean-lover in your life.

  1. Contribute to direct conservation in action

Help the oceans worldwide by supporting the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Make a donation in someone’s name (perfect to put in a card or a stocking!), shop Sea Shepherd gear, or contact your local chapter and become a volunteer! Your contribution helps to support campaigns including:

  • Protecting wild salmon (BC, Canada)
  • Patrolling the endangered vaquita refuge (Mexico)
  • Defending sea turtles (Nicaragua)
  • Funding beaked whale research (Guadalupe)
  • Helping with the conservation of the Galapagos
  • Hurricane relief (Bahamas)
Photo by Valerie Shore / Eagle Wing Tours
  1. Give the gift of an Eagle Wing experience!

Don’t know what to get for that family member or friend who has everything? Don’t worry, Eagle Wing gift certificates are available and easy to purchase online. With an abundance of whales and a variety of wildlife, framed by the breathtaking scenery of the Salish Sea, every trip is an adventure. Come and explore the Salish Sea with us!

  1. Hit the books

Sure, whales can’t read, but you and any orcaholics on your gift list can! Catch up on the latest in killer whale lit (a very special genre!) with the following 2019 titles.

  • Orcas Everywhere: The Mystery and History of Killer Whales by writer, filmmaker and “orca activist” Mark Leiren-Young. This book—which is aimed at ages 9-12 but is just as fascinating for adults—looks at how humans around the world once related to killer whales, how we relate to them now, and what we can do to keep them alive and thriving. It includes many spectacular photos, including a few from Eagle Wing’s talented photographers! Order here
  • Orca: The Whale Called Killer by Erich Hoyt. This is the fifth edition of this landmark book on killer whales around the world, first published in 1981. In this updated and expanded edition, Hoyt—now a world-renowned expert on whales and dolphins—offers fresh insights into the life history and conservation of this charismatic species. Order here
  • Endangered Orcas: The Story of the Southern Residents by Monika Wieland-Shields, founder and president of the Washington State-based Orca Behaviour Institute, chronicles the history of this beloved and endangered population, and the challenges they face in the years and decades ahead. Order here or here.
Whale stickers by local artist Tasli Shaw
  1. Bonus ideas for Greater Victoria locals (and visitors)

The Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea has a wonderful gift shop with plenty of ideas for kids and grownups alike, with items like books, clothing, crafts, jewellery, temporary tattoos, eco-friendly beeswax wraps, stuffed toys and wall hangings. Pick up a yearly pass (as a gift or treat yourself!) while you’re there!

Pop by the Soap Exchange—it’s not just cleaning products! Pick up some beautiful locally made soaps, hand creams and lip balms, and while you’re there check out their line of refillable, eco-friendly cleaning products (we use them at Eagle Wing Tours!).

What do you get for the art lover and nature buff in your life? What about a print from the Bateman Foundation Gallery of Nature? There are some amazing local artists represented and the shop has a variety of gift ideas for all ages. Don’t forget tickets to the gallery as well!

If you’re still looking for stocking stuffers, we have a few ideas at the Eagle Wing Tours floating office at Fisherman’s Wharf: t-shirts, hats, re-usable water bottles, whale stickers by a local artist (see above), stuffies, and tote bags are all available. All proceeds to the Wild 4 Whales Foundation. Come on by and say hello!

Happy Holidays everyone!