This holiday season consider an easy gift that gives back to animals

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So all your packages are wrapped and ready to go, but you’re still looking for a couple extra items to stuff in stockings or stick under the tree. Here are some ideas for those last minute gifts that will satisfy the animal lovers in your life as well as give a little holiday cheer to animals around the world.

For the cost of a stamp you can give the gift of a voice to a captive orca by joining the Free Tilikum Christmas Campaign and mailing a “Send Tilikum Home For The Holidays” card to SeaWorld in Florida. The cards are available at www.tilikum.webs.com, just print it, sign it and send it. Print a couple of extras and send them for your friends. While you’re there you can pick up a “Free Tilikum” T-shirt as a stocking stuffer for the activist in your life.

A great gift idea for those people who seem to have everything is to sponsor an animal in their name. Most animal sanctuary’s offer adoption and sponsorship programs in the range of about thirty dollars a year. Several of my favorites are in my area include Woodstock Animal Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary in New York, and For the Animals Sanctuary in Blairstown, New Jersey. Another local favorite, Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York, also has a facility in California.

Deep in the heart of Texas you’ll find Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch which is home to more than 1,200 domestic and exotic animals. You can sponsor a wide variety of animals like kangaroos, ostriches, apes, camels and llamas. All of the animals have been rescued from abysmal situations such as slaughterhouses, trophy hunting ranches, circuses, zoos and medical research facilities.

If you want to go international, you can help apes and monkeys by fostering or adopting them at Orangutan Foundation in Indonesia or Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary in the UK. Orangutan Foundation cares for orphaned orangutans, as well as other animals such as sun bears, gibbons and macaques who are threatened by forest destruction and the illegal pet trade. Find out how to foster at www.orangutan.org. Wales Ape and Monkey Sanctuary rescues and gives homes to unwanted animals, especially chimpanzees, baboons, spider monkeys, capuchins and marmosets. You can sponsor an ape or monkey by going to the organization's web site at www.cefn-yr-erw.co.uk.

You can donate or sponsor animals from all these organizations online. It’s an easy way to brighten up the holiday season for both the animals and the animal lover in your life.

Robin Lawless | @robmlaw | email
Robin lives in New York City where she loves to check out all the vegan eateries. When she's not writing for TDIV, Robin enjoys taking dance lessons, reading, practicing yoga, hanging out with her cat Maggie, baking vegan treats, and volunteering at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Feel free to add Robin as a friend on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/twinxamot

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