Wildlife Systems Two Rivers Wildlife Park presents a discussion about ecosystems, food chains and biodiversity.
Wildlife includes wild mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
It also includes fishes, plants, fungi, algae, bacteria, and other wild organisms.
In other words, wildlife includes all living things that are not domesticated, including plants.
Why is Wildlife Important Most things we have or use as human beings has its roots in nature, and most of these in wildlife. Without wildlife, the planet could not support human life! Most importantly, all living things perform essential functions that keep this complex planet suitable for life. We can think of these as “jobs” that they have .
How Does Wildlife Help Us Live? Most wood and paper products still come from natural forest ecosystems . Humans do not produce food. Plants and other animals produce it for us. Can you think of some food that comes from wildlife? Clothing! We get our cotton comes from the cotton plant, and leather from cows. Many synthetic fibers come from the remains of wildlife of several million years ago….oil! Aspirin, one of our most common drugs, comes from the bark of the willow tree, though it is now manufactured synthetically.
What do Wildlife Eat? Here are some words that describe the food habits of animals. What category do you fit in?
Herbivore means an animal that eats plants ( example: deer)
Carnivore means a meat eater (example: cougar) Omnivore means an animal that eats both plants and animals. (example: black bear)
How Do Wildlife Get Their Food?
A predator is a carnivore that hunts live prey (a wolf hunts a deer).
Prey are animals that are hunted by predators ( deer hunted by wolves).
A scavenger eats dead animals that it finds (a vulture).
How do you find your food? At the grocery store? In the refrigerator? In the garden? Do you hunt for your own food?
What is a Food Chain or Web?
Food chains and food webs are ways of viewing the earth’s energy and nutrient cycles .
The interactions of the organisms at each level are often represented as links of a chain or strands in a web.
How do Food Chains Work?
Most of the earth’s energy comes from the sun, is trapped and converted, along with soil nutrients, to stored energy (food) by green plants.
It is then passed along to animals and microorganisms through the rest of the food chain until it is returned the soil, where the process begins again (a food web is just a more complex version of a food chain).
Food Chain ‘Jobs’ There are names for different roles or “jobs” at various levels of the food web. Green plants are called producers . Animals that eat plants are called primary or first level consumers. Animals that eat other animals are called secondary or second level consumers Animals that eat secondary consumers are called tertiary consumers . Microorganisms and fungi that make a living breaking down dead material are called decomposers .
Guess the Wildlife Job!
Is a tree a producer or a consumer?
Are bacteria consumers or decomposers?
Is an eagle a primary or secondary consumer?
What is an EcoSystem?
An ecosystem is a complex concept. It is:
A system of plants, animals (including humans), and microorganisms along with non-living parts of their environment and the ecological processes that are related to these environments.
What are some examples of an ecosystem? An ecosystem can be a small area, like a pond. An ecosystem can be contained on an island, like Sable Island. An ecosystem can be a forest or part of a forest. An ecosystem can be a larger area like the Mira River and surrounding area.
What is BioDiversity Biodiversity is the variety of living things. Biodiversity can refer to a species or where the species lives. A diverse ecosystem is a healthy ecosystem Diversity can refer to how many or how few different species live in an ecosystem. OR It can also refer to the number or diversity of ecosystems across the landscape. Example: Cape Breton Island has a large variety of forest types, rivers, ponds, streams, meadows and grasslands. It has good biodiversity!
To Learn More about Wildlife Systems:
We hope you enjoyed this presentation about Wildlife Systems. Complete the activity sheets and then visit Two Rivers Wildlife Park to learn more about Food Chains, Ecosystems, and Biodiversity!