Movie: Planet in Peril Part I species Loss Thai Market



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Movie: Planet in Peril - Part I

Species Loss – Thai Market



  1. What is the current rate of species extinction? (18-50 species a year; 1000 x the natural rate)

  2. What international treaty protects species around the world? (CITES, for more information check out their website)

  3. What law in the United States protects wild species? (not in movie – Endangered Species Act)

  4. What is the science of protecting species? (conservation biology)

  5. What countries are the top importers of illegal wildlife (United States, China)

  6. For what reasons are endangered species sold around the world? (not in movie - food, clothing, pets, traditional medicines, aphrodisiacs)

  7. Why is it important not to take endangered species from their natural habitat? (so few left and transporting them will kill many of them; they play a key role in their native habitat)

Species Loss – Madagascar

  1. What is a biodiversity hotspot? (a place, such as an island, where many species are endangered, to the point where the ecosystem might collapse)

  2. What is a specialist and why is it important not to remove it from their environment? (specialists are organism that eat only one thing, therefore they have a special role in the environment, keeping what they eat in check. If they die, the population of what they eat may grow out of control and alter the ecosystem)

  3. What is the role of forests in preserving an ecosystem? (collect water and prevent run-off, stabilize soil and help create soil, provide habitat for species, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and give back oxygen)

  4. What is a rapid assessment program, how is it done, and what role does it play in protecting species? (a quick assessment of what species exist in an unexplored area , typically done on foot, capture animals, and then a visual inspection. RAP may not yield new species even though there are some, because most new species are bacteria and invertebrates. If new species are found, it can convince governments to preserve the region)

  5. What data would collect on the captured species during the RAP and what tools would you use? (height, weight, length, color; camera, scale, dissection to learn about anatomy, what it eats, what eats it)

  6. Why should people in the United States care about species loss in another part of the world, such as Madagascar? (Madagascar has its own ecosystem, but that ecosystem is connected to other ecosystems through the various ecospheres, such as the atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and cryosphere. If one so unique as Madagascar collapses, then others may follow.)

Species Loss – Yellowstone

  1. What animal is being reintroduced into Yellowstone? (wolves)

  2. Why were the originally eliminated from the park? (they killed the cattle of local ranchers)

  3. What is a keystone species? (a species that is important in keeping the ecosystem stable, when the species is removed, the ecosystem changes drastically (trophic cascade))

  4. What evidence is there that wolves are a keystone species? (Without them the bison and deer population sky rocketed, altering the ecosystem, creating more grasslands as deer and elk eat the tress and willow bushes. These bushes give cover for birds and food for beavers.)

  5. How do beavers alter an ecosystem? (the dam rivers and create ponds, which become habitats for fish and birds; beavers can be considered a pioneer species. They are the first to arrive, alter an ecosystem and allow others to thrive)

Species Loss – Cambodia

  1. What is a top predator? A top predator (or apex) predator is usually a carnivore at the top of the food chain.

  2. What is the top predator in the jungles of Cambodia? (tiger)

  3. Why are tigers hunted by poachers? (skins for decoration, bush meat, body parts for traditional medicine)

  4. What technology is used to track the tigers in the jungle? (Garbage and traps left by poachers, use GPS units, have guns to protect themselves. Need to explain to students that tigers can be tagged and then tracked with radio telemetry equipment or satellites. However, this is expensive and most conservation units in developing nations can’t afford it)

  5. How do Asian elephants alter the ecosystem? (make paths through the forest for other species, holes they dig become ponds)

  6. What can be done to stop poaching? (Strategies could deal with education, technology, legislation, law enforcement)

Environmental Problems – China

  1. Why is there such a demand for endangered species in China? (food, and over 500 species are used in traditional medicine; there are also over 1.7 billion people in China are demanding them).

  2. What is the underlying cause of resource exploitation? (population growth; our population has grown over 400% in the last century)

  3. What is the current rate of consumption around the world? (30% more than what the world can regenerate)

  4. What are some of the natural resources China is exploiting? (coal for energy, wild species for food and medicine, trees for chopsticks, water for drinking and industrial production)

  5. What are some causes of water pollution? (solid waste disposal, human waste disposal, sediments from construction, chemicals from industrial processes, mining wastes)

  6. What are some health concerns related to water pollution? (cancer, skin rashes, intestinal diseases, death)

  7. What environmental problems related to mining? (water pollution from tailings, destruction of habit from mountain top removal, mudslides can destroy houses, noise pollution from explosions disrupt hibernation and matting patterns, falling debris kill people and animals, lung problems such as asthma from dust, heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, mercury make water toxic and can cause neurological problems for children and the elderly)

Chemicals Inside You and Me

  1. How do scientists look at traces of industrial chemicals in our blood? (Body-Burden test, typically tests for around 250 chemicals)

  2. Why are children and the elderly more susceptible to industrial chemicals? (less developed or aged immune systems organs, such as the kidneys that cannot fight against these chemicals)

  3. What are some industrial chemicals that we should be concerned about and where do they exist in our daily lives? (PCBs, Phthalates, PBDEs)

  4. What agency is responsible for chemical regulation in the United States? (EPA – Environmental Protection Agency)

  5. What are some health problems related to some of these industrial chemicals? (neurological and DNA damage)


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