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World Wildlife Fund


8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Civics, Social-Emotional Learning

Resource Type

  • Article

Regional Focus

Global, South and Central America, Africa, Asia



Second-biggest Direct Threat to Species After Habitat Destruction

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  • This detailed article introduces students to the concept of wildlife trading, which occurs whenever people sell or trade living wild animals, wild animal products or body parts, or wild plants. 
  • Students will learn about why people trade wildlife, the scale of the problem, why wildlife trading is a problem, and many examples of wildlife trading around the world.
Teaching Tips


  • This resource features a wealth of information about many aspects of the wildlife trading problem. 
  • There is an infographic and links to the IUCN and CITES websites for further research.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should feel comfortable reading about animal cruelty.
  • The link for the first video does not work. 


  • This resource would work equally well in science or social studies classes, as it connects to ecosystems and species extinctions as well as human behaviors and the environmental effects of consuming certain products.
  • Connect this article to climate change through nature's importance as a climate solution and biodiversity's importance for ecosystems to function properly.
  • Try using this resource to have students debate the different solutions posed and decide which one is the most feasible and effective. 
  • As an extension, have students create posters or infographics that promote awareness of the problems posed by wildlife trading.
Scientist Notes
The resource from the World Wildlife Fund presents the effects of the wildlife trade, the second biggest threat to species after habitat destruction. The website provides a brief overview of the wildlife trade, why it occurs, and why it's a problem. Links are provided for additional information about invasive species, additionally a fact sheet about wildlife trade and a report on the role of the European Union in the global wildlife trade is provided. This resource would be a great addition to a classroom discussion about additional threats to wildlife, outside of climate change and habitat destruction.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
      • HS-ESS3-1 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.1.6-8 Distinguish the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental contexts.
    • Dimension 2: Economics
      • D2.Eco.1.6-8 Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.
      • D2.Eco.3.9-12 Analyze the ways in which incentives influence what is produced and distributed in a market system.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.5 Analyze in detail how an author's ideas or claims are developed and refined by particular sentences, paragraphs, or larger portions of a text (e.g., a section or chapter).
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author's point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
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