Wildlife Encounters - 5th - 8th grade


Agriculture: production of plants and animals for food, energy, building materials, and other resources. Land is required for agriculture.

Anthropogenic: An outcome caused by humans or human activities.

Biodiversity: A variety of genes within a population of animals; a variety of species in a particular region; or a variety of ecosystems on the earth. In general, a term used to describe the richness of different life forms.

Deforestation: Cutting down forests to use the land for another purpose, or to harvest the trees for human use.

Emerging Disease: A new disease that was not previously known.

Endangered: A species at risk for becoming extinct because of either a low number of remaining individuals, or changing environmental factors.

Extinct in the Wild: A species that can only be found living in captivity, such as at a zoo or wildlife park.

Feral: A domestic animal that lives wild or untamed.

Fossil Fuel: An energy resource from decomposed plants and animals that died millions of years ago. Coal, oil, and natural gas are fossil fuels. Pollution from fossil fuel use is one of the reason global climate change is occurring.

Functionally Extinct: A species that does not have a single individual left living.

Habitat Fragmentation: When habitats are divided and become smaller due to physical disruption including increased human land use.

Habitat Loss: Reduction of natural areas in an ecosystem used by plants and animals.

Interspecies Competition: When different species compete for the same resources. Often one species is a better competitor, leading to the decline of the other species involved.

Invasive Species: A species that is disruptive and harmful to other species in the area. It may be a non-native species that was introduced or a native species that is harming other species due to destruction of the natural balance in a disturbed ecosystem.

Keystone Species: A species whose activities maintain an ecosystem. Without this species, the ecosystem will collapse.

Migrate: To move to a new region or habitat to live.

Morbidity: When an organism has a disease, injury, or poor health due to any cause.

Mortality: Death of an organism.

Native Species: Species that is originally from an area.

Non-native Species: A species living in an area it is not naturally found in. Often these species were introduced in new areas due to human activities.

Nuisance Wildlife: Wildlife whose normal activities cause problems because they live close to people.

Pollution: When an ecosystem is damaged by unnatural products that are introduced into the environment. Pollution can be from garbage, chemicals, light, or even sound.

Recycling: Reusing materials for a new purpose. Recycling decreases the amount of waste produced.

Specialist Species: Species that require specific habitats and food to survive and thrive

Threatened: A species at risk of becoming endangered if intervention does not keep its number of individual animals from decreasing further.

Urbanization: The spread of human cities and the decrease of natural habitat.

Zoonosis: A disease that animals can give to people.

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