Swamp Lions: Education Worksheet

Video highlights from Swamp Lions

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary

Swamp Lions Education Worksheet

 

SCHOOL LEVEL
Upper Primary and Junior Secondary


DESCRIPTION: Swamp Lions
Busanga Swamp in Zambia’s Kafue National Park is a quagmire, even at the height of the dry season. This is one of Africa’s toughest habitats for a lion, because hunting in shoulder-deep mud is almost impossible. Keeping cubs alive is difficult enough in an environment shared with hippopotami and crocodiles, but without a protective male, the Swamp Pride is extremely vulnerable. All the more so when two massive young males arrive on the scene, ready to claim the Swamp Pride and territory as their own. To take over the Pride, they must first kill its cubs, while the mothers fight with all their might to protect their young.

TEACHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Busanga Swamp is a challenging habitat for lions. In the wet season, up to 100 trillion litres of rain swallow the Kafue Basin. The water recedes some seven months later, leaving the swamp a boggy quagmire. The lion cubs risk drowning, and succumbing to dangerous hippopotamuses and crocodiles.

Lechwe and kudu – types of antelope, and perfect prey for lions – roam the swamplands in large herds. Close-up cinematography illustrates the advantage these animals have over lions in managing life in this environment. Lions’ bodies are designed for power on dry land, but their short, thick legs and broad, muscular chests slow them down in water and make high-speed chases all but impossible. Lechwe and kudu have long hooves and powerful hind legs coated in water-repellant fur, allowing them to leap through the shallows at extraordinary speed.

“Swamp Lions” focuses on one pride, tracking their every move as they go about their daily lives. The result is a brilliant insight into the most intimate behavioural characteristics of lions. The pride has lost its alpha male to hunters, leaving three adult sisters and three cubs to fend for themselves. One of the cubs is a new-born, half-blind and barely able to crawl. Its mother must move it every few days so there’s no scent trail for enemies to follow.

In spite of her best efforts, however, two young males in search of their own pride and territory announce their arrival with spine-chilling roars. Exploring this unfamiliar terrain, the brothers use the Flehmen Response to help gather information about the inhabitants. They deposit their own chemical signature and mark the territory for takeover.

The ensuing events make for gripping viewing as nature takes its course, the females fighting to protect their young and the stronger males striving for dominance. The pride needs a miracle, the miracle eventuates and the swamp lions unite to become one happy family.

 

CURRICULUM POINTERS

 

Upper Primary Curriculum
Science curriculum provides opportunities for students to experience the joy of scientific discovery and to nurture students’ natural curiosity about the world around them.
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Rationale

Junior Secondary Curriculum
Science provides an empirical way of answering interesting questions about the biological, physical and technological world. The knowledge it produces has proved to be a reliable basis for action in our personal, social and economic lives.
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
•    an ability to communicate their scientific understandings and findings to a range of audiences, to justify their own ideas, 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:
•    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
•    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
•    an understanding of historical and cultural aspects of science as well as contemporary science issues and activities and an understanding of the diversity of careers related to science
Australian Science K-10 Curriculum 2010: Aims



STUDENT LEARNING TASKS
 

Upper Primary
 

Task 1
Download a map of Zambia from
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/zambia-map/
Use the magnifying toggle to enlarge the map, then save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook.

On your map:
•    Highlight Kafue National Park
•    Magnify the map again and mark Busanga Swamp
•    Name the river that dissects the Kafue roughly north to south

Task 2
Do some Internet research to find the names of ten different animals that live in the Busanga Swamp area.

Task 3
Describe three different challenges for lions living in the Busanga Swamp area that would not be faced by lions living on savannah plains or in the woodlands. Write about 20 words for each of the challenges.

Task 4
Draw up two columns, one for male lions and one for female lions living in the same pride. In each column, write down five different chores that males and females do. Finish with a sentence to explain whose life you think is easier – males or females – and why.

Task 5
Write 50 words to describe how lions co-operate to hunt herd animals such as lechwe.

Junior Secondary


Task 1
Download a map of Zambia from
http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/zambia-map/
Use the magnifying toggle to enlarge the map, then save the map to your files, or print it and paste it into your workbook. You may need to do some Internet research to help complete the task.

On your map:
•    Shade the area occupied by Kafue National Park
•    How many square kilometres is the Park?
•    Magnify the map again and mark Busanga Swamp area
•    Name the river that dissects the Park roughly north to south
•    Name two other rivers in the park
•    Name 10 animals that inhabit the Busanga Swamp and state whether they are nocturnal or diurnal.

Task 2
In 60 words explain three challenges faced by a lion pride that has lost its alpha male.
 

Task 3
Write 50 words to explain the difference between hunting and poaching in Africa. Add another 50 words to state which – if either – of these activities you support, and why.

Task 4
In 100 words compare the anatomy of lechwe and lions living in the Busanga Swamp area, including an explanation of which animal has the advantage and why.

Task 5
Both cooperation and competition can be observed in the day-to-day life of any pride of lions. Give an example of each of these types of behaviour and describe a situation in which you could observe them – 80 words for each. 

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