The following three case studies all provide examples of conservation in action. I included examples from the United States (Aleutian Cackling Goose and Grey Wolf) as well as from Germany (European Wildcat). The case studies give students an insight on how practical species conservation can work. They also enable students to immerse themselves in a real-life situation and help to further develop their decision-making and problme-solving skills. Each worksheet includes several homework tasks, but students can also be separated into groups of three so that each student works on a different case study and then has to inform the other group members about their study.
Aleutian Cackling Goose
The recovery of the Aleutian Cackling Goose is an important example for a successful conservation plan: although it was the first species listed under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, it could be removed from the list in 2001. However, the recovery has caused problems for many ranchers, which is also discussed.
The story of the Yellowstone Wolves is also important because after the Grey Wolves in the park were purposely exterminated, people realized the wolves' huge influence as a keystone species of the park's ecosystem and decided to reintroduce the wolves. Even though the wolf population in the park has increased sufficiently, many people are critical its reintroduction. This controversy is also addressed in the worksheet. Additionally, a consequence chart outlining the effects the removal of the wolf had can either be discussed in class or can serve as homework. The story of the Yellowstone Wolves also serves as a great example for the interdependency of species within an ecosystem. Please go to the Links and downloads section, there you will find links for a video and story about the wolves' reintroduction, which are a great practice or the students' listening comprehension.
The European Wildcat, which was once found all over Germany but then died out in many regions, is slowly starting to repopulate places such as the Swabian Alps again. The BUND (Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland) has chosen the wildcat as a poster child for a nationwide project that aims at connecting fragmented habitats through wildlife corridors. For more information on a free education pack provided by the BUND including a computer simulation on habitats as well as more teaching material on the European Wildcat, click here. To download workbook for teachers, click here.