Wildlife Under Threat

Delve into the shady world of wildlife crime as we use real Customs seizures to reveal the devastating impact of hunting on animal populations, and find out how ZSL is helping. After a discussion of the main threats to animals, Wildlife Under Threat will focus on hunting and the illegal wildlife trade. Students will investigate an array of real objects from the natural world that are loaned to us by HM Revenue and Customs, and will be encouraged to discuss some controversial statements about hunting, using the information provided. After exploring their own opinions they will find out how these problems are tackled in real life by ZSL conservationists. N.B. Some students may find certain hunted artefacts shocking.

Wildlife Under Threat education session

Age group:  Years 7-11 (KS3&4, Ages 11-16),

Duration: 45 minutes

Capacity: 35 students

Learning Space: Rainforest Live


National Curriculum links:


KS3 English - programme of study (2014)

Spoken English

  • Speak confidently and effectively in a range of formal and informal contexts, including classroom discussion.
  • Giving short speeches and presentations, expressing their own ideas and keeping to the point
  • Participating in formal debates and structured discussions, summarising and/or building on what has been said


KS3 Science - programme of study (2014)


Interactions and interdependencies

Relationships in an ecosystem

  • how organisms affect, and are affected by, their environment, including the accumulation of toxic materials

Genetics and evolution

Inheritance, chromosomes, DNA and genes

  • changes in the environment which may leave individuals within a species, and some entire species, less well adapted to compete successfully and reproduce, which in turn may lead to extinction


GCSE Exam Board Syllabus links:


OCR GCSE Biology A

Module B3:  Life on Earth

B3.3.6. understand that the rate of extinction of species is increasing and why this is likely to be due to human activity


Intended learning outcomes:

Students will be able to:

  • Gain an understanding that hunting and the illegal wildlife trade are major threats to animals
  • State some examples of animals that are endangered due to hunting
  • Identify some of the reasons why animals are hunted
  • Gain an understanding that the reasons why people hunt animals are complex and varied, and that in order to conserve animals we need to understand these reasons
  • Gain an understanding of the work of ZSL in tackling hunting and wildlife trade, and what actions they can take action to help


For this session


Before your visit:

  • Use this Wildlife Under Threat pre-visit information sheet: PDF icon Pre-visit session info - Wildlife Under Threat (564.48 KB)
  • Research a range of endangered animals and find out which threats they are facing.
  • Learn the key vocabulary — ‘conservation’ ’endangered’ ’extinct’ ’preservation’


While at the Zoo:

  • Use this Wildlife Under Threat pre-visit information sheet to undertake activity while you are at the Zoo: PDF icon Pre-visit session info - Wildlife Under Threat (564.48 KB)
  • Use this Save a Species research booklet: PDF icon Save A Species Research Booklet (396.38 KB)
  • Use signs by each animal to build up a list of endangered species.  What more can you find out about these species when you are back at school? 
  • Visit Gorilla Kingdom (map ref. F4). Use the information given to you by the characters on screen and the field station area to understand which threats gorillas face in the wild.
  • Watch the Sumatran tigers (D6) in Tiger Territory. Use the wall panels to gather information about the decline in tiger populations and our conservation efforts.


After your visit:

  • Find out which of the endangered animals you saw at the Zoo are listed by CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) on www.cites.org.