Sunday, March 28, 2010

4 Weeks Left to Earth Day! Week 13! Endangered Species: Tigers

I was saddened this week to read more startling statistics indicating the decline of species, in this case Butterflies.  I am not entirely sure what it is that we do not get about all this; maybe we are just in denial because it is too freaky!  Joanna Macy spoke up a long time ago about apathy born of a profound despair in the face of impending disaster.  I hope that we can shake ourselves out of whatever it is that is blinding us to the catastrophic destruction of planetary ecosystems to somehow rise up and preserve what is left.

Recently I wrote about biodiversity, and the importance of insects such as butterflies and bees; I wrote about Keystone species such as alligators and wolves; so this week I thought I would feature Tigers since they are on the brink of extinction and in need of help from all of us.  These Blog Posts are aimed at educating and inspiring us to act on behalf of all species including ourselves, however, I will offer a word of caution.  I am a big fan of educator David Sobel who warns: “we need to give young children time to connect to nature before we ask them to save it.”  Therefore, I have tried to design the Lesson Plans to include content for the younger ones that focus on the beauty and magnificence of such animals and urge you not to dwell on their possible extinction.  Older students can definitely explore reasons for endangerment of species and join in efforts to protect them.
 Lesson Plans
1.  In the early 1900s, there were around 100,000 tigers throughout their range.  Today an estimated total of around 3,000-4,500 exist in the wild.  You can see a breakdown of tiger numbers by subspecies and learn a lot more about them, at the Defenders of Wildlife website.  With older students, choose a species and research why the animal has become endangered.  What are the mitigating factors and what could have been done differently to protect them?  The Endangered Species Website is helpful. 
2.  With young children, simply learn about the different tiger Sub SpeciesTigers are carnivores, what are some of the animals in your neighborhood that eat other animals?  Tigers are mammals and females typically birth between one to seven cubs.  What wild mammals live in your region?  Do they give birth to cubs, pups or kittens – what are the names of their offspring? 
3.  Are there any Wildcat species in your region?  If so, how are they similar to tigers?  What was the  Evolutionary journey of tigers? Many species are now confined to small areas of land, but many of them once roamed on different Continents.
4.  One of the primary causes of species endangerment, or extinction is the proximity of Humans in their territories.  With older students explore this topic; what could we do in the future to better provide for such animals?  Do they think that it matters, or should we just let them die out? Remember that many of these animals are Keystone Species and their demise has consequences.  
As a Keystone species, how do Tigers   affect the ecosystem in which they live? Is there a keystone species in your neighborhood?   Remember a keystone species can be as small as a bee! 

Green Action of the Week!
Have a bake-sale, or some other Fundraiser to raise some funds to help preserve some land in your area, somewhere else in the world or both!  Acting locally, nationally and globally can be a way to introduce children to the concept of our interconnectedness!  

I have uploaded my song, Tiger, Tiger for this post.  It might also be fun to share William Blake’s famous poem Tyger, Tyger Burning Bright! (If you do not find the Tiger Song, please check back as I am still trying to upload it!) 
Here is a very simple  Story of the Tiger and another called the Ungrateful Tiger

I wish you a good week!  I hope these posts are being of some help to you!  I know that while it may be too late for some species, that awareness will help to preserve others in the future.  Education is so important and for all of you out there who are educators, and parents, thank you so much for all you do to provide kids with the knowledge they need to act for all species.
In gratitude for Life, and this beautiful Earth!   

Enchanted Learning has some printouts and information about tigers.

Photo of Sumatran tiger by Monika Betley - from Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Bengali Tigress and cub by Mayankkatiyar - from Wikimedia Commons

No comments:

Post a Comment