What is the man

without the


If all the beasts were

gone, man would die from

a great loneliness of the


For whatever happens

to the beasts, soon

happens to man.

Attributed to Chief Seattle,

1784–1866 Chief of the Duwamishand

Suquamish tribes, USA

learn ABOUT

• the habitats of

endangered species

• the threats to their


• what you can do to


learn TO

What do you know about ENDANGERED SPECIES?

In pairs, decide whether these statements are TRUE or

FALSE. Briefly explain your answers, and compare them

with others in the class.

1 Grey Nurse sharks spew out their stomachs.

2 Snow leopards prey on blue sheep.

3 Grey Nurse sharks are near the bottom of the food chain.

4 African elephants can eat the weight of three grown men

each day.


• interpret maps and


• use information

technology to present

your ideas and fi ndings

• communicate using

role play, class debate,

a campaign.


Heinemann HUMANITIES 1

Endangered species – an overview

Figure 1

More than 12 000 of the world’s animal species

face extinction. This means they have so few

numbers they cannot reproduce enough to

survive as a species. In this unit, you will enter their

habitats, you will discover why they are endangered

and fi nd out what people and organisations around

the world are doing to save them.

Snow leopard.

African elephants.

Map 1

Grey Nurse shark.

A r c t i c

O c e a n

A r c t i c C i r c l e







P a c i f i c

A t l a n t i c

T r o p i c o f C a n c e r




O c e a n

O c e a n

E q u a t o r




T r o p i c o f C a p r i c o r n



I n d i a n











3000 4000 5000 km

O c e a n



15 16

17 17

There are endangered species all over the world. 1 Cheetah; 2 Grey Wolf; 3 Gorilla; 4 Orangutan; 5 Bird of

Paradise; 6 Giant Panda; 7 Przewalski’s Horse; 8 Tiger; 9 North American Bison; 10 Jaguar; 11 Macaw;

12 African Elephant; 13 Aye Aye; 14 Greater Bilby; 15 Helmeted Honeyeater; 16 Pygmy Possum; 17 Whales;

18 Giant Brazilian Otter. (Source: Heinemann Atlas Third Edition.)



HOW ENDANGERED? Each year, animals and plants are classifi ed on the ‘Red List’,

published by the World Conservation Union, according to the degree of endangerment

of extinction they face. This list defi nes the various levels:


extinct in the wild

critically endangered



near threatened

data deficient (DD)

The last individual of the species has died.

All surviving members of the species exist in a cultured or captive environment.

The species has an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.

The species faces a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

The species faces a high risk of extinction in the wild.

The species is likely to qualify for a higher category in the near future.

There is inadequate data to classify the species.

Extract 1

Dirty old bags

[Plastic bags] are lethal to marine life [as they]

kill livestock and trap birds. According to

Planet Ark, an international environmental

group that has taken a leading role in the push

to reduce plastic bag use, at least 100 000 birds,

whales, seals and turtles are killed by plastic

bags each year worldwide.

Plastic bags cannot be digested or passed by an animal

— they stay in the gut, causing pain and certain death.

When dead animals decay, the bags are freed and often

eaten again by other animals for many years to come …

Many countries around the world have implemented

measures to curb the use of plastic bags. Ireland …

has placed a levy equivalent to 27 cents [on each bag,

reducing] single-use plastic bag consumption by 90–95

per cent over one year …

Sushi Das, the Age (29 June 2004).


G Investigating environmental issues

1 Create a thermometer chart showing the

degrees of endangerment from high to

low. Use the Internet and library to find

one endangered animal at each point of

endangerment, and add them to your chart.

2 Use Map 1 and the information on page

180 to identify which continent seems

to have the most endangered species.

Compare the results and suggest why this

might be the case.

G Evaluating and presenting information

3 There are many reasons why animals

become endangered. In small groups,

consider the following reasons and order

them from the most likely to the least

likely reason. Add some reasons of your

own and share your views with the class.

• hunting and killing

• zoo collections

• loss of habitat

• pollution

• domestication of wild animals

• feral cats

• overfishing

• wild animals on restaurant menus

4 Read Extract 1 then do the following


a List the information in this article which

you think is factual.

G Communication: writing a formal letter

b As a class, write a letter to your local

council urging them to pass a bylaw

to ban free plastic bags in all

stores. You could add a petition with

signatures from people in your area.






Heinemann HUMANITIES 1

The Grey Nurse: 300 and counting






0 5km

Map 1


South Maroubra

Magic Point

Map of Australia, including Magic Point at South


It is 8 a.m. The chilly wind sprays icy

sea-water into my face as we bounce

across a slight swell towards Magic

Point at South Maroubra. I had wanted

to do a night dive because that’s when the

Grey Nurse feeds, and it’s a lot more exciting,

especially with an underwater scooter and a

spotlight. But Jane, the dive instructor, was

horrifi ed: ‘No! We’re not allowed to dive there

at night, we can’t use scooters, we can’t block

the entrance to their caves, we can’t touch

them or feed them, we can’t even interrupt

their swimming patterns. We can only go

down there to watch!’

Oh well, it’s probably too scary at night


It’s hard to believe we are less than twenty

kilometres from central Sydney and yet so

close to a colony of Grey Nurse sharks. Now

by Meg Davis


that we are in the boat with open ocean in

front of us, I’m glad she set the rules — rules

to protect the sharks, not me!

‘Three hundred and counting down,’ Jane

shouts in my ear as we speed across the waves.

I must have looked puzzled because she adds,

‘There are only about three hundred Grey

Nurses left, and we’re going to see nine of


I have been scuba diving before but this

is going to be special. I’m itching to get into

the water. We gear up and roll backwards

into the cool blue sea. Visibility is great.

Swimming down the anchor line, we reach

the ocean fl oor about fi fteen metres below the

surface. It’s only a short swim to a wide cave

about two metres high: the home to a colony

of Grey Nurse sharks. Grey Nurses love caves

and deep trenches; they’ve been known

to go down as deep as two hundred metres

looking for food. They’re at the top of the food

chain, so who knows what will happen if they

become extinct.

Several dark, silent fi gures — the largest

almost four metres long, the smallest one

metre — swim slowly round and round,

patrolling the entrance to their cave.

These sharks are beautifully streamlined,

grey to bronze on top with white underbellies.

The young ones have reddish spots on the

lower part of their back but these fade as

they get older. Row after row of backwardpointing,

needle-like teeth fi ll their jaws.

They look ferocious, but I’ve been promised

they’re not.

‘They’ll leave you alone as long as you don’t

provoke them or get in the way when they’re

feeding,’ Jane had said.

The Grey Nurse shark



Figure 1 Figure 2

A food chain


Large fish (e.g. sharks)

Small fish (e.g. whiting)

Small invertebrates (e.g. prawns)

carbon dioxide + water

sugars + oxygen + energy

Producers (e.g. algae, mangroves)

Energy from the Sun

The Grey Nurse shark food chain.

A Grey Nurse shark.


Survival of the fittest

The female Grey Nurse has a uterus on each

side of her body. Each uterus contains several

babies but usually only one from each uterus

emerges alive. The pups are about one metre

long at birth.


If a Grey Nurse is hooked and then brought to

the surface too quickly, the air in its stomach

will expand because of the lower pressure. This

causes the gut wall to rupture, which, if left

untreated, will cause the shark to die a painful

death within a week or so, due to peritonitis

(infl ammation of the peritoneum).

1 From the story and photos in this unit,

draw and colour a Grey Nurse shark,

labelling key features.

G Presenting geographical information

using a diagram

2 Look at Figure 2. In pairs, produce a food

chain with sketches and labels. Illustrate

and explain what might happen to the food

chain if the Grey Nurse became extinct.

3 Read Survival of the fittest and suggest

how this reproductive method aids in the

survival of the species.

4 The scientific name of the shark

commonly known as the Grey Nurse is

Carcharias taurus; the family name is


a Using a dictionary or the Internet, find

out what these Latin words mean.

b How do these relate to the description

of the Grey Nurse?

5 Read Hooked! Find out the meaning of

‘peritonitis’ and research its effects.







Heinemann HUMANITIES 1





1 Write down statements a to g. Write ‘true’

next to any statements you feel are correct

and ‘false’ next to those you feel are incorrect.

Justify your choices. Two examples have been

provided for you.

Humans are one of the many threats

to endangered species. True. Pollution,

poaching, farming, overfishing and habitat

destruction all contribute to the decline of

species’ numbers.

Because sharks are the perfect killing

machine the Grey Nurse Shark will never

die out. False. The Grey Nurse does not

reproduce quickly, is hunted by humans, its

natural habitat is being destroyed and its

numbers are declining already.

a Snow leopards are only endangered in


b Vulnerable species are not as threatened as

critically endangered species.

c Female African elephants are pregnant for

about two years.

d Grey Nurse sharks are at the top of their

food chain.

e Mount Kilimanjaro is in South Africa.

f Snow leopards sold on the black market

bring in very little money.

g Farmers pose very little threat to the African


2 Construct food chains that include the three

endangered species, their predators and prey.

3 Imagine you are a worker for the WWF. List the

five things that would be your priorities once

you started work.

4 What value do conservation groups have in

today’s society? Do you think that they and

their aims and objectives are worthwhile or a

waste of public resources and money?

5 Imagine you are living 100 years in the future.

Create a written, oral or visual presentation to

answer the following questions.

a Which endangered species might still and

might not exist and why?

b You open up a time capsule from 2006,

which gives details about what was being

done to protect endangered species. List

what you would find.

c Predict how you think future society might

protect endangered species.

6 Design a poster showing why we should

protect not just endangered species but all


7 A number of Australian species are on the Red

List. Create a written, oral or visual presentation

to outline the impact that the extinction of such

animals as the koala, the northern hairy-nosed

wombat, the wedge-tailed eagle or the Grey

Nurse shark would have on Australia.







WB • G, H, J, I, C, D, E





time to refl ect

1 a Which part of this unit made you feel you

would like to learn something about an

endangered species?

b We all learn in different ways. Which activity

in this unit suited your learning style best?

Which activity did you most enjoy?

2 List the things you would add or drop from this

unit. Give reasons for your suggestions.

4 Suggest an additional activity (draw something,

investigate, hear a speaker, etc.) you would

like to be included in a study of endangered


5 a Explain the value of doing fieldwork on

endangered species.

b What sort of fieldwork would you suggest?


6 What aspects of learning about endangered

species are valuable to society in general?

3 Suggest two other species not included in this

unit that you would like to study. Give reasons.


Heinemann HUMANITIES 1


alpine the mountain environment

bull a male elephant

carcass the body of a dead animal

cow a female elephant

critical habitat a habitat that is essential for the

survival of a species

critically endangered facing an extremely high risk

of extinction in the wild

data deficient (DD) inadequate data is available

domestication the adaptation of an animal for use

by humans; taming

dry season the time of the year when there is little


electroreception the sense that allows sharks to

detect very weak electrical currents

endangered facing a very high risk of extinction in

the wild

exterminate to get rid of something by completely

destroying it

extinct no longer existing

extinct in the wild only surviving in a cultured or

captive environment

feral wild or untamed

food chain a chain of organisms indicating which

living things are eaten by others

gestation the period of time needed to produce a

living offspring

habitat the area and its surroundings in which a

species lives

herd a large group of four-legged animals of a

single species

Himalayas the mountain chain in south-central

Asia (including Mount Everest and nine of the

world’s ten-highest peaks) that extends for about

2414 km

ibex a mountain sheep that lives in the Himalayas

ivory hard whitish dentine (tooth material) of which

animals’ tusks are made

national park an area of land set aside by a

government for the conservation of natural features

near threatened likely to qualify for a category of

endangerment in the near future

offspring a descendant of an animal or plant

peritonitis inflammation of the peritoneum, the

membrane that lines the stomach walls

poaching illegal hunting or fishing

ranger a person who is employed to protect areas

such as national parks

sanctuary a place which provides protection of


savannah an area characterised by grasslands and

scattered trees, and having a wet season and a dry


scavenger an animal that feeds on dead or

decaying matter

species a class of organisms that are grouped

because they have common attributes

steel tracer steel used for the first 2 metres of

a fishing line, near the hook, to avoid having the

rough skin of a shark break the line

strychnine a poison that affects the nervous

system, and usually leads to a slow and painful


trench a long, steep-sided valley on the ocean


uterus the cavity in the bodies of some female

animals in which offspring develop before birth

vulnerable facing high risk of extinction in the wild

whistleblower a person who informs authorities of

an illegal activity

Place chapter opening photo here and increase photo

height to start 5mm from last line of glossary text. Photo

must remain this width, it is ok for the photo to be


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