Valentine’s Day may have passed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still give your partner the most romantic gift of all—a wild shark. That’s right, for a minimum donation of $3,000 to this shark research, you can name a GPS satellite-tagged shark and track it on Google Earth.
The crowdfunding project was posted by David Shiffman, a Ph.D. student at the University of Miami’s R.J. Dunlap Marine Conservation Program. He describes the study as such:
We will be using a non-lethal research technique called stable isotope analysis to help understand the diet and food web interactions of several species of sharks in coastal South Florida, information that will help fisheries and wildlife managers to better conserve and protect them!
Unfortunately, due to decades of overfishing on a global scale, many species of sharks have experienced rapid and severe population declines, with some declines surpassing 90% since the 1970’s.
The money will fund Schiffman’s sample analysis. If you want to support the shark lab more broadly, a $2,500 donation will cover the cost of one new satellite tag (and you’ll still get to name a shark).
Adopt-an-animal fundraising efforts are pretty common. Usually, you give a wildlife conservation group money, and they use it to care for a member of your chosen species, leaving both your conscience and your hands clean. Sometimes you get additional gifts in return for your donation. But this outreach venture brings this idea to a whole other level. Of course, not everyone will be willing or able to pay thousands of dollars. Luckily, the rewards are tiered. ($400 will still get you on a shark tagging boat for a day, which is still pretty cool.)
If you still need convincing, here’s a video about the program's shark tagging: