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Teachers: Citizenship: Globalisation Environmental

Last Updated: Monday January 24 2005 17:50 GMT

Endangered species

Citizenship 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Globalisation - environmental implications


Amur leopard cubs
Students often feel sympathy towards animals that are cute or show human-like qualities.

Many endangered species do not have these attributes.

This activity asks students to decide which of a group of animals should take priority over others for survival.

Learning aims

  • Consider your own feelings towards different species of animals

  • Discuss your own points of view within a group


    Read out this story to the class.

    Amur leopard

    Ask students:

  • Why is the Amur leopard under threat? Because a planned pipeline in Russia could ruin their environment.

  • What else has threatened to make the rare cats extinct? Forest fires and expanding towns.

  • How many Amur leopards are there left in the wild? 30. There are now more of the cats living in captivity than in the wild.

  • What do you think should be done?

  • What do you think should be done if the pipeline wiped out 30 rare stick insects?

    Raise the point that an animal's worth is often linked to how human-like it is.

    Also say how important this can be when getting people to care about the possibility of an animal becoming extinct.

    Main activity


    Where do you draw the line?

    Divide the class into small groups or pairs

    Give each group a copy of this worksheet.

    Explain that in this task they have the choice of saving only three of the animals on the worksheet. The rest will become extinct.

    Ask the students to draw a line through the animals they would allow to become extinct.

    They should discuss and write down the reasons for choosing their three animals.

    Each group or pair can then feed back to the class.

    Extension activity


    Students read these two stories. If they had to decide to save either polar bears or sharks, which species would they chose and why?


    Pick out the key criteria used throughout the class for choosing one animal over another.

    Discuss the issues raised and the ones below:

  • How cuddly or appealing are the chosen animals?
  • Do students see some animals as being more intelligent than others?
  • Do students think animals that look more like humans are more important?

    Teachers' background

    Loggerhead turtle

  • One of only seven species of sea turtles still in existence.
  • They eat conchs, crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, fish, squid, octopus, whelks and jellyfish.
  • They are protected by the US Endangered Species Act.

    Stick insect

  • Some change color with changes in temperature, humidity, or light intensity.
  • Each stick insect can lay at least one egg a night and one a day.


  • They are family animals and truly social in their own communities.
  • They usually live in groups of 15 or more animals called prides. Prides can be as small as 3 or as big as 40 animals.
  • In prides the females do most of the hunting and cub rearing.

    Domestic cat

  • There are about 100 distinct breeds of the domestic cat.
  • In ancient Egypt, killing a cat was a crime punishable by death.


  • They are members of the pheasant family.
  • The word peacock actually refers to the male bird, while females are peahens, and the young are peachicks.
  • A group of these together is referred to as a bevy.

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