Student Report Tips
Which animal should you choose? What is the best way to start your research? Where are the best places to search for information? Let Oakland Zoo help
with your next report.
Which Animal Should I Choose?
Think carefully about the animal you wish to research. It will be easy to find information on most of the common larger animals found in zoos. (For a list
of animals at the Oakland Zoo check out the Animals A-Z page). You may have to search harder to find information about unusual animals. If you find
too much information, narrow your search. For example, instead of tigers, look for Bengal tigers. If there is too little information make your topic
broader. For instance, compare Bengal tigers to Siberian tigers.
Start With Your Library And The Internet
Make a list of key words that describe your topic. (In the example of the tiger, key words might include tigers, Asian wildlife, endangered cats, etc.)
Now you are ready to search. The library: Using your key words, look on your library computer and copy down authors, titles, and call numbers for books
that have the information that you need. A librarian can help you locate the books. The internet: Go to a search engine like Google or Yahoo. Type
in your key words and look at the websites that come up. It is best to pick the ones that are from zoos or wildlife organizations. Websites by individual
people are usually not as reliable and may contain opinions, not facts. Either take notes or print out the information.
Magazines like ZooBooks, National Geographic, and Smithsonian are wonderful sources for animal information. Your library and bookstore will have copies
of these magazines. You can also find the articles on-line, but you may have to pay a fee to look at them.
If You Still Have Questions
If you have thoroughly researched your animal and you still need information, write to your local zoo with specific questions that you couldn't find in
your research. (Make sure that the zoo has the animal that you are studying). Don't ask the zoo to do your research for you by asking for answers that
you can find yourself. Instead, ask questions that only a zoo could answer. Remember that people who work in zoos are very busy so make sure to ask
your questions several weeks before your report is due.
Good Luck With Your Project!
Scavenger Hunt Sheets
Planning a visit to the Zoo? Make your trip more meaningful and exciting with an Oakland Zoo Scavenger Hunt! There are several scavenger hunt sheets for
groups of all ages. Print one off, bring it to the Zoo, and have fun winding your way through the zoo on an amazing animal adventure.
Don't forget... you can also pre-register to have one of our amazing Docent Volunteers lead your group around the Zoo on a personal tour. You must register at least 3 weeks in advance.
Endangered Species at Oakland Zoo
Many animals around the world are facing extinction. Deforestation, illegal pet trade, over hunting and other factors are leading to a decline in many
Oakland Zoo has several endangered species in its collection. Below you will find a list of Oakland Zoo animals that are considered endangered. For information
on how you can help, visit the Conservation section of our website.
Gibbons are absolutely dependent upon old-growth tropical forests. While still common, white-handed gibbons exist on only 10% of their original habitat
in protected reserves. In 1987, the IUCN* estimated that there were 79,000 white-handed gibbons but to protect other more endangered species of gibbon,
all are listed as endangered by the USDI* and are on appendix 1 of the CITES*, prohibiting commercial trade in gibbons.
Chimpanzee populations have been reduced and fragmented by growing populations of people moving into their habitats to establish farms. In addition to
this, they are hunted by people for food or to protect crops, and are exported commercially to supply animals for laboratory research and the entertainment
At this writing no research on Sun Bears in the wild is being done (or ever has been done) and there are no plans in place for management aimed at their
conservation although they are listed as threatened under CITES*. In Thailand, the primary threat is habitat destruction, especially logging, and the
pet trade. By law, every man, woman and child is allowed to keep two of any species as pets, except for those on the brink of extinction. Elsewhere,
the greatest threat is due to poaching for meat and traditional medicinal use of organs, primarily in China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, the greatest
consumer of sun bear parts.
Tiger have been hunted heavily by man for sport, skins, and as a source of traditional medical products. Superstition has surrounded tigers for centuries;
necklets of claws are thought to protect a child from "the evil eye", whiskers have been considered either a dreadful poison (Malaysia), a powerful
aphrodisiac (Indonesia), or an aid to childbirth (India and Pakistan) and the bones, fat, liver and penis are prized as aphrodisiacs or medicines.
The tiger populations of the Indian subcontinent have suffered a serious decline in the last 50 years. It is estimated that some 200 tigers yet survive
in Nepal, and perhaps 4000 in India, up from a low of 2000 in the 1970s.
A government program, called Project Tiger, established nine sanctuaries designed to provide ample habitat and prey. However, small isolated parks may
promote inbreeding and the future of the Bengal tiger is still in question. A new threat by the burgeoning population growth is human competition for
the tigers' prey base of large hoofed mammals.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of poaching for the escalating Chinese and Korean markets, in spite of a Chinese ban on tiger products in
1993 and South Korea's joining of CITES**.
African Elephants are endangered because of loss of habitat and because of poaching for ivory. Since its protection by the CITES* several years ago, populations
have increased, but as elephants are losing their fear of humans, they are venturing into farm lands and have become a problem. Each year when the
CITES meets, there is pressure to downlist elephants and allow trade again.
Two races of American Bison are recognized: Plains Buffalo and Wood Buffalo of Canada. Their number was reduced to 750 in 1890. They were then protected
and now number about 80,000. Bison live only in parks, reserves and private collections.
The endangered species list changes from year to year. You can visit the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) or the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Red List to find out more information.