Leopards Of Dead Tree Island: Education Worksheet

Video highlights from Leopards of Dead Tree Island

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

Leopards of Dead Tree Island Education Worksheet

SCHOOL LEVEL
Upper Primary and Junior Secondary


DESCRIPTION: Leopards of Dead Tree Island
Botswana’s Okavango Delta is renowned as being one of the world’s largest inland water systems and home to a huge diversity of plant and animal life. After the rainy season, which generally runs from October to April, the Okavango Delta area  almost doubles in size, creating a rich habitat for large numbers of animals. Amongst them, the leopard is one of the most intriguing. Solitary, elusive, graceful and bewitchingly beautiful, leopards are one of Africa’s prized “Big Five” – as dangerous as they are popular. In Leopards of Dead Tree Island, we are privileged to gain an in-depth look into the lives of three leopards seeking a common goal – domination of a prized territory. Along the way, we learn some fascinating facts about leopard behavior and how these animals interact with one another and with the other inhabitants of the magnificent Dead Tree Island environment.

 

TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Permanent water and rich grazing at Dead Tree Island in Botswana’s Okavango Delta attract a wide diversity of wildlife. This fascinating documentary highlights the island’s leopard inhabitants through the changing seasons.
Leopards are Africa’s most secretive cats. Characterised by their solitary nature, three leopards at Dead Tree Island are forced to share territory, resulting in an increasingly uneasy coexistence. Buddha, the dominant male, is a sturdy five-year-old in the prime of life. Mosweo, a female who moves in and out of his life, has recently given birth to two cubs. Tipa, their three-year-old son from the last litter, should have moved on, but seems blissfully unaware that he poses a threat to the newborns.

Mosweo must sever her bonds with Tipa and force him to leave her territory. She must also strike a balance between defending her cubs from predators and deserting them while she hunts. An excellent climber, she scales trees to find a good vantage point 7-8 metres high, using gravity to drop on unsuspecting prey.

Impala, one of the leopards’ favourite prey, are quick to give alarm calls that attract other predators. Hyenas, strong and aggressive, hunt in packs and will kill Mosweo’s cubs if they find them. Mosweo’s spotted coat provides perfect camouflage in the dappled sunlit environment as she moves her cubs to a new den.

Tipa’s initial forays into the neighbouring woodland bring him into conflict with a mortal enemy – a pride of lions capable of tearing him apart. His early hunting attempts highlight his need to anticipate movements of potential prey. He must also beware of baboons that signal his presence with their alarm calls and may try to kill him.

As the rains recede, waterholes shrink, bringing elephants, lechwe and other animals closer, and forcing Mosweo onto open flood plains to stalk prey. As her sole surviving cub grows, so does its curiosity, and it ventures out to explore when left alone.

Mosweo watches in alarm as a new female, larger and stronger, enters her territory. Buddha rolls on the ground, cloaking himself in the new female’s scent. Mosweo is forced to leave her home in search of new territory and another partner.  When the dry winter finally ends, Buddha mates with the new female, thus securing the legacy of the Dead Tree Island leopards.


CURRICULUM POINTERS
 

Upper Primary Curriculum
The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to experience the joy of scientific discovery and to nurture students’ natural curiosity about the world around them. These ideas resonate with the concept of scientific literacy, a term that is well established in the science education literature.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale

Junior Secondary Curriculum
Science is a dynamic, collaborative and creative human endeavour arising from our curiosity and interest in making sense of our world through exploring the unknown, investigating universal mysteries, making predictions and solving problems.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale


CURRICULUM OUTCOMES
 

Upper Primary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will:
•     develop an interest in science and a curiosity and willingness to explore, ask questions and speculate about the changing world in which they live
•    develop an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


Junior Secondary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Science will develop:
•    develop an ability to investigate questions about the world using scientific inquiry methods, including questioning, planning and conducting experiments and investigations based on ethical principles, collecting and analyzing data, evaluating results, and drawing critical, evidence-based conclusions
•    develop an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas on the basis of evidence, and to evaluate and debate scientific arguments and claims whilst respecting alternative viewpoints and beliefs.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims


STUDENT LEARNING TASKS
 

Upper Primary
 

Task 1
Write 50 words to describe the Dead Tree Island habitat where the leopards live.

Task 2
Do some Internet research to find the names of five other types of mammal, five different bird, five reptiles and five insects that share the leopards’ habitat. Add to your list five types of tree that are part of the leopards’ Dead Tree Island habitat.
 

Task 3
Draw a family tree that shows the relationship between Buddha, Mosweo, Tipa, the two young cubs and the new female. Next to each animal, write either the letter M for male or F for female, if you know its gender.

Task 4
In 50 words explain why Mosweo has to make Tipa leave her territory, and what might happen if she doesn’t chase him away.

Task 5
Describe in 100 words what happened to Mosweo’s two young cubs and why.


Junior Secondary


Task 1
In about 100 words, compare the Dead Tree Island leopards’ habitat in the rainy and dry seasons. In your comparison, describe the landscape, what happens to the animals and how rain or lack of rain might affect the leopards’ hunting routine.

Task 2
Write 100 words to describe how Mosweo uses trees as part of her hunting strategy. Include an illustration with your description.

Task 3
Write 50 words each to describe a day in the life of each of the following:
•    one of Mosweo’s young cubs
•    three-year-old Tipa
•    Mosweo
•    Buddha.

Task 4
Write 50 words to describe why Mosweo must sever her bonds with Tipa and another 50 words to describe how she does this.

Task 5
Leopards and lions are Africa’s best know big cats. Do some Internet research to help write a 250-word comparison between leopards and lions, including the following themes:
•    physical characteristics
•    mating
•    reproduction
•    family life
•    hunting techniques

Discuss this article

Newsletter

Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
Submit