Wildlife Crime & the Law teachers’ resource released

With the Illegal trade in wildlife estimated to be worth up to AU$30 billion globally per year, Crime Stoppers has worked with some of Australia’s leading education professionals to develop a Wildlife Crime and the Law teachers’ resource to help break the chain.

It is the latest addition to the free online teachers’ resource suite of Civics and Citizenship themes available to educators of Years 7-10 students across Australia.

In addition to more than 45 different links to videos, websites, apps and worksheets, the Wildlife Crime and the Law theme pack offers flexible lesson ideas that cover:

  • Biosecurity and wildlife crime
  • Wildlife, biosecurity and the law
  • Wildlife crime in Australia
  • Break the Chain campaign
  • Reporting wildlife crime

In launching the latest theme pack, Crime Stoppers Australia Chair, Dr Vince Hughes, said wildlife crime remains one of the largest direct threats to many of Australia’s most threatened species, and second only to direct habitat destruction.

“Wildlife and environmental crime is big business and has taken its place as a mainstay major transnational organised crime activity alongside trafficking in drugs, weapons and human beings,” said Dr Hughes.

“Our nation’s exotic reptiles, amphibians and birds are highly prized and command big prices on the black market here and overseas, with the pet trade hungry for our lizards, snakes and bird species such as parrots and cockatoos – and we need to partner with everyone in the community to make a difference,” he said.

“During transportation, these animals are often bound by tape and packed into small objects for a duration varying between a couple of hours to a few days. By the time they arrive overseas, animals have often suffered dehydration and suffocation, while some sadly die during the journey.”

Bright colours and their exotic nature see Australian snakes and reptiles selling for AUD$1000–$20,000 when illegally trafficked overseas, while native birds such as the rainbow lorikeet and peach-faced cockatiel are also highly valued on the international pet market because of their unusual colourings, behaviours and genetic traits.

“Everyone can play a critical role when it comes to the fight against wildlife crime by sharing what they know or suspect with Crime Stoppers, without the need to say who they are or get involved. Our latest teachers’ resource actively engages our next generation so they understand what they can do to help stop wildlife crime,” Dr Hughes said.

“As an independent charity, Crime Stoppers is proud to have funded this unique national learning initiative, which encourages a sense of community engagement in students by increasing their potential to be informed, responsible, ethical and active participants in society.”

Launch of the Wildlife Crime and the Law teachers’ resource follows highly successful wildlife trafficking awareness campaigns run in Victoria, and more recently a partnership announced between Crime Stoppers Queensland and the Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors to offer cash rewards for information that leads to arrests or charges for wildlife crime.

The teachers’ resource was first developed and trialled in Western Australia to help make the Australian subject of Civics and Citizenship more engaging to students. The Wildlife Crime and the Law theme pack is the seventh in the suite of nationally available materials, which provide flexible content and lesson ideas, resources and assessments for teachers, who can select lesson ideas in any order to best suit the interest and needs of students.

Existing theme packs that are already part of the suite explore cybercrime, the justice system, crime laws, law enforcement and the role of citizens in relation to crime, including how Crime Stoppers can help. Teachers can access the resource through Scootle, a national digital repository of teacher resources made available by Education Services Australia as well as on the Crime Stoppers Australia website.