Red or dead?

Polar species survive in a harsh and inhospitable environment, with sub zero temperatures, cold winds, and 6 months of darkness. They have evolved and adapted to live in these extreme conditions. However, some species are at risk.

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Which of the Arctic species shown do you think are at risk?

Polar bear on ice close up from above
Polar bear
Beluga whale
Beluga whale
  • Why do you think they are at risk? Discuss your reasons and then check your answers. Answer all of them!

Trick question – all of them are at risk!

They are all on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species 2000 – a register of wildlife at risk, with four categories of threat:


  • Go to redlist and find out more about these Arctic species and under which category they are listed.
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Chain reaction

Environment • Clearing land • Logging • Building dams • Food • Shelter • Clothing • Energy • Ozone depletion • Climate change • Pollution • Soil acidity • Over-harvesting of food sources • Hunting • Importing goods from elsewhere • Transport

Complete the table: type the correct words into each box below.

What do people need to live? Where do people get these from? How does this affect the environment?

Next, Draw a poster to explain the chain reaction of cause and effect of what people need, where they get these things from and how this affects the environment.

  • Is your chain reaction the same as others in the class?
  • Habitats provide food for Arctic animals and birds. What do you think Arctic wildlife will find to eat in this hostile environment?