There are thousands of species on the endangered species list and thousands more have become extinct. Use the natural fascination and awe children have for endangered animals to reinvigorate their imaginations with these powerful expository writing prompts on threatened species. These writing prompts are geared primarily for middle school, high school and college age students.
→ Writing Prompt 1: The honeybee pollinates a third of the world’s food supply. The rusty patched bumblebee pollinates blueberries and apples. Both are disappearing and will consequently affect the world’s food supply. In particular, the bumblebee, which used to be a common sight from the Eastern Seaboard to the Midwest, has virtually disappeared, with its populations as much as 95% smaller than it was just a few decades ago. Therefore, for the first time, the United States is considering declaring the bee an endangered species. If they do, what impact do you think it will have on the bees? Can declaring something endangered save it? Can you think of anything we can do to help save the bees?
→ Writing Prompt 2: What if a species, which was once considered to be extinct, was discovered to have survived? Write an account of the rediscovery of an animal once considered extinct.
→ Writing Prompt 3: One day you woke up and discovered that you had been turned into an endangered or extinct species. Think about what species you have become and describe your life; for example, your habitat, your daily rituals and what caused your endangered or extinct status.
→ Writing Prompt 4: The polar bear’s existence is under threat due to many factors: illegal killings, pollution, and legal trade in skins and animal parts. But one of the largest threats to the polar bear is climate change. As the ice caps melt, there is less of their natural habitat to sustain them. What should be done to save the polar bear?
→ Writing Prompt 5: There are only 100 Iberian lynx left in the world. Ten years ago there were 400. If they die out, they will be the first big cat to become extinct in over 9,000 years when the saber-tooth tiger died out. What should be done to protect the lynx?
→ Writing Prompt 6: In the last 100 years, 97% of all the wild tigers have died. There are only about 3,200 left. What should we do to save the tigers? What can YOU do?
→ Writing Prompt 7: When we think of endangered animals, we often think of exotic animals; animals that we don’t really see in our day-to-day life. But what if dogs or cats were on the endangered list? Would you feel a stronger sense of urgency to save them? Write an essay explaining why it would be devastating to lose domesticated animals.
→ Writing Prompt 8: Think about an extinct species that you would like to bring back to life. Discuss the reason you would like to revive the species and what you would hope to learn about them.
→ Writing Prompt 9: You work for a company that has the job of clearing an area for a future shopping mall. While cutting back the trees, you discover a nest of endangered birds. What should happen next? The cost of relocating the birds will cost too much. Not to mention that removing the birds would put the project way behind schedule. Should the mall project stop, regardless of the cost, until the nest can be relocated? If so, what can you suggest to help make up the time and money lost?
→ Writing Prompt 10: Your class has been discussing endangered species and how both humans and nature are affecting animal populations. Choose an endangered animal and discuss the reason its population is in decline. Be sure to also discuss possible solutions to help preserve the animal.
Writing Prompt 11: Write an essay explaining why it would NOT be worth it to protect our plants and wildlife from extinction.
→ Writing Prompt 12: Should we do our best to not let a species go extinct or should we follow the rule of natural selection? For example, if dinosaurs hadn’t died out, humans would have never evolved. Why do we try to prevent other species from dying out rather than allowing natural selection to take its course?
→ Writing Prompt 13: The ivory-billed woodpecker was considered extinct until 2004 when there were some tentative sightings of them in Arkansas and Florida. They died out mostly because of habitat loss due to logging. Also because some people killed them for their feathers. Most of us have never heard of the ivory-billed woodpecker. If it can be proven that there are some still in existence, what should be done to save them and why?
→ Writing Prompt 14: Most species become extinct because of loss of habitat. One possible solution would be to place them in zoos where they could breed. But if enough of them are bred to save the species, where would they all live, since mankind has already destroyed their habitats? If enough are bred to save the species, there will eventually be too many for zoos to handle. Think of a potential solution to the problem of capturing and breeding endangered animals to save them from extinction and write an essay on it.
→ Writing Prompt 15: According to the latest research studies, it is estimated that over 21% of reptile species around the world are threatened with extinction. Their extinction would represent a combined loss of 15.6 billion years of evolutionary history. The main reasons for their extinction are habitat loss caused by expanding agriculture, deforestation and urban development. On a scale from 1 to 10, rate how important it would be in your opinion to halt this extinction by curving the expanding agriculture, deforestation, and urban development. Explain your point of view.
Writing Prompt 16: Endangered Species Day falls on the third Friday in May each year. It’s a day to celebrate endangered species success stories. Write an essay on the importance of such a holiday.
→ Writing Prompt 17: Each year poachers kill over 20,000 elephants for their ivory tusks. Though illegal, ivory tusks trade internationally in the black market at very high prices and are in high demand. African elephants are now listed as a critically endangered mammal. Write an essay explaining the measures you would take to protect them.
Writing Prompt 18: In 1996 scientists in Scotland cloned Dolly the sheep – fusing a cell from one ewe with the egg of another. Since then, there’s been other occurrences of animal cloning using different methods. Do you believe cloning is a feasible solution to the endangered species dilemma? What would be the ethical implications?
Writing Prompt 19: The Endangered Species Act is a law that was passed to protect our plants and wildlife from going extinct. Explain the importance of this Act and the benefits to our quality of life for preserving our threatened and endangered species.