Adopt a whale for the holidays, support Maine-based Allied Whale

You know what’s a cool gift? A living, breathing whale. A 40-ton mammal that roams the oceans, eating krill and singing eerie serenades.

This holiday season, you can “adopt” a humpback or fin whale through the Adopt-A-Whale program. It’s $30 for a single whale and $40 for a mother and calf pair.

These aren’t just any whales — they’re whales that Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic’s marine mammal research lab, has been tracking for years.

As an adopter, you (or the person you gift the adoption to) will receive a photo of a specific whale and its life history; and on top of that, you’ll be assisting whale conservation through supporting Allied Whale. 

Thanks to the pioneering research of Allied Whale, founded 41 years ago, scientists know that humpback tails, finback dorsal fins, and body markings can be as distinctive as human fingerprints. Once identified, whales are tracked, and family trees created, giving researchers insight into their abundance, migrations, and life histories.

The adoption packet includes: 

  • a certificate of adoption
  • a photo and biography of the adopted whale
  • a booklet filled with whale photos, facts and maps
  • a waterproof field guide to whales and whale watching
  • and an Allied Whale bumper sticker

Gemini’s fluke

If you get attached to your adopted whale, you can always upgrade the adoption with an added gift. The whales can live for quite some time. In fact, the male humpback whale Gemini was first photographed in 1976, and 37 years later, he was the first whale COA scientists spotted for the 2013 field season. He spent the majority of the summer in the Gulf of Maine, delighting whale watchers.

Gemini is often seen with fellow humpbacks Tusk, Notchy and Breakers, feeding on small schooling fish.

To adopt Gemini or a whale like him, visit,, or call (207) 288-5644.

About Allied Whale:
Allied Whale has been at the vanguard of whale research and conservation since 1972 when it established a research station at Mount Desert Rock lighthouse station, 25 miles off the coast of Maine, and began the identification catalog for the North Atlantic humpback whale. It now also maintains identification catalogs for the North Atlantic fin whale and the Antarctic humpback

Photo-identification remains the most important and widely-used research technique for whale biologists; Allied Whale has archived tens of thousands of research images of whales. As a result, researchers have been surprised to learn about extreme migrations. Allied Whale also carries on genetic studies of the whales that regularly return to feed off the coast of Maine and Eastern Canada. Its research also helps to discover the impact of pollution, ocean dumping, shipping, destructive fishing, and coastal development on individual whales.

About College of the Atlantic:
College of the Atlantic is a small college on the coast of Maine fostering interdisciplinary approaches to complex environmental and social problems. The academic program encourages hands-on, experiential learning and asks students to view the world as an interactive whole through its one major, human ecology. For more visit

Aislinn Sarnacki

About Aislinn Sarnacki

Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at