When we talk about wildlife we’re talking about mammals, birds, fishes, frogs, lizards and snakes, flies and beetles, crabs and lobsters, sponges and jellyfish, and all the little bugs that are too small to see.
When we talk about wildlife we’re talking about all the walking, flying, hopping, swimming, slithering and squirming creatures that make up the wonderful mix of creatures that we share our planet with.
Can you even begin to imagine if they weren’t here with us, if we had only human companions on our planet?
What is biodiversity?
Most of the wildlife on our planet need plants and other wildlife to survive. We sometimes call this mix of wildlife and plants ‘biodiversity’. This is a very big word (try saying it quickly with a mouth full of watermelon).
Biodiversity is the spice of life. It is the variety of plants, animals, insects and micro-organisms on earth. It is the variety of plants, animals, insects and micro-organisms on earth. It is all their genes too, and the web of ecosystems that they make up.They make up the ecosystems of life and depend on each other for their survival.
We can think of biodiversity on three levels:
• genetic diversity
• species diversity
• ecosystem diversity.
In Australia our biodiversity is made up of around 700,000 different species. Eight out of ten of our plants and mammals, and almost half our birds, are found only in Australia. Our biodiversity can be found all across the country, from red sand deserts in the centre and rainforests in Far North Queensland to snow-capped mountains in Victoria and New South Wales.
‘If all the insects on earth disappeared, within 50 years all life on earth would disappear. If all humans disappeared within 50 years all species would flourish as never before.’
Jonas Sulk, discoverer of the Polio vaccine.
Our Cool School provides resources for teachers on ‘Wildlife’ for grades 1-10.
Students: Click here to read more article on ‘Wildlife’ for grades 5 & 6.
Teachers: Click here to download activities, worksheets, presentations and resources on Wildlife for Grades 5 and 6.