5 Powerful Resources About the Problem of Poaching

The article "Can She Be Saved?" in your December/January issue is one of our all-time favorites. It's about Ishanga, an orphaned baby elephant who nearly died after poachers killed her mother. Though Ishanga's story has a happy ending, the global problem of poaching continues to decimate wildlife, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. We hope your students will be inspired to learn more about poaching, including why it's a problem and what can be done to solve it. We have compiled five powerful resources just for you and your students.


Here are five powerful resources to guide your students’ learning journey:


(Getty Images)


To Watch and Read: videos of elephants playing soccer and the rescue of Kithaka, and the website of The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

To Do: As a class, watch the two videos and go to The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s website to learn more about the incredible organization that saved Ishanga's life. You’ll find images, videos, and information about all of the Trust’s orphans. (We particularly recommend the footage of the Trust's keepers interacting with the elephants.) Hold a class discussion about what new information and insights students gain from these resources—that is, about the information contained in these resources that is not included in the article.



Officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service destroy confiscated ivory trinkets in New York City. (Getty Images)


To Read: an interactive map, which tracks the illegal ivory trade around and the world and an infographic about Africa's poaching crisis

To Do: After studying the map and infographic as a class, divide students into groups and have them create PSAs about the poaching crisis. Students can draw on information from the paired texts, the resources above, and their own research. The PSAs can be in the form of a poster, video, or PowerPoint presentation and should include information about why poaching is a concern and what can be done to help solve the problem.



A park ranger in Kenya trains to catch poachers. (Getty Images)


To Watch: a video about a former poacher

To Do: Hold a class discussion about some of the reasons a person might become a poacher, using information from the paired texts and the video. What can be done to prevent a person from becoming a poacher in the first place?



A park ranger guards a burning pile of ivory in Nairobi, Kenya after the government called for 15 tons of elephant tusks to be set on fire in an effort to deter illegal poaching. (Getty Images)


To Read: a website outlining the causes and impacts of elephant poaching

To Do: Using information from the paired texts and from the website above, have students create a poster or chart showing the causes and effects of poaching.



(Getty Images)


To Research: other threatened species and conservation efforts

To Do: Divide students into groups and have each group research a species other than elephants or rhinos that are being threatened by humans, whether because of poaching, habitat loss, or pollution. What effects are these threats having on the animals? What efforts are being made to save the animals? What else can be done? Each group can present their findings to the rest of the class. Students should use reliable sources such as the World Wildlife Fund, National Geographic, the Africa Wildlife Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.


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