Can We Teach the Next Generation to Be Conservationists, Not Trophy Hunters?

Between 2005 and 2014, 1,500 lions were killed and then shipped to the United States as trophies by their hunters. But what if we could change that staggering number by raising a new generation that has no interest in killing lions but instead works to save them?

Born Free USA, an animal protection group, has set out on that goal by developing a lesson plan to teach kids about lions so they learn to love them, not hunt them.

“When it comes to protecting wildlife, so much can change in a single generation. The actions of our children will determine whether that change is positive or negative: whether they will save species from suffering, or doom them to extinction,” explains Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA. “Kids have the power. We must protect imperiled species in the generations to come… before they vanish. Teachers and parents can encourage students to become future wildlife conservationists—or, at the very least, understand the issue and be informed about the impact for animals and for people. We believe these lesson plans can do just that.”

There are two lesson plans, one for kids from first through third grade and another for kids from fourth to sixth grade. They can be downloaded for free by teachers, parents, babysitters or anyone looking to educate their kids about the animals and how to save them.

And while the subject of trophy hunting can be a little heavy for ages seven through twelve, the students won’t be looking at gruesome images of Cecil or the cruelty behind cub petting to understand the animals’ plight. Instead, the lessons rely on fun facts (like lions are about eight feet long and sleep 20 hours per day) and group activities that explain how majestic lions are and why they should be protected.

“The time is right for us to let our kids know—without graphic language or horrific images—that there is a desperate need to save this beleaguered species, and that they can be part of the solution,” adds Roberts.

It is then through games of fill-in-the-blanks, true or false and story telling that kids learn that there are only 3,200 lions left in the wild (only enough to fill a medium-sized sports stadium) and that hunting them for fun is absolutely legal. A song with a catchy chorus and slideshow with beautiful images of lions, lionesses and their cubs in their natural habitat reinforce the message on an audio-visual level, and everyone is encouraged to share what they learned with their friends and families to spread the word.

Since no children’s school lesson would be complete without a project to take home, kids are also taught how to make a lion puppet out of a paper bag and a few more supplies, how to make a lion note holder, and how to draw and color a lion. A copy of the final work of art can then be emailed to Born Free’s headquarters to be displayed on an online lion gallery wall to help spread the message of saving lions while the original is proudly showcased on mom’s fridge door.

Photo Credit: ThinkStock

154 comments

Karin Geens
Karin Geens2 years ago

Thanks

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Not the way we are going.

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Patricia H.
Patricia Harris2 years ago

Nena C., indeed! Setting an example as well as giving out education, is the way to go.

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Nena C.
Nena C2 years ago

We do need to do this!

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angel l.
Angela L2 years ago

Or should adults learn to be more aware of the environment and our nature. It always come from previous generation how we live and pass on to next generation. If every individual walks the right path, so will our children!! Unfortunately, adults are so occupied with work and electronic stuff, as we can see everyone in public places are on the cell or pad. They have no concerns of our surrounding other than how to live luxuriously and shower with more materials.

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Fi T.
Past Member 2 years ago

We've got the ability, but not really the will

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Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D2 years ago

Education and example are the key.

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Bayla D.
.2 years ago

Thank you! I think most kids these days are more aware.

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David C.
David C2 years ago

thanks!

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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