Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

ZooLand, part 9: How Zoos Get Their Animals

Years ago zoos would send people all over the world to collect animals. To keep expenses down and to preserve the wild animals in their natural habitats, very few zoos obtain their animals in this way, but instead get them in one of these ways:
  • Trade: Zoo directors get lists of animals that other zoos want to trade, and if the zoo wants one of the animals, the two zoo directors work out some sort of trade.
  • Breeding: Many zoos have breeding programs, in which the animals either become a part of the zoo's collection or are traded to other zoos.
  • Gifts: Rarely zoos will accept animals that people offer them. Most animals offered them are too common, such as snakes, birds or turtles. In 1972 the National Zoological Park accepted two Giant Pandas from China.
  • Loans: Zoos loan each other animals If an animal's display is being repaired or upgraded, the zoo might loan the animals to another zoo until the display is finished. Sometimes animals are loaned as part of a breeding program.

When a New Animal Arrives

When a new animal arrives at the zoo, it is kept in a special cage away from other animals. It is examined closely to make sure that it doesn't have any diseases. If an animal is going into a display with other existing animals, the other animals are sometimes removed so that new animal can get used to his home and its smells. Once the animal is comfortable, the other animals are put back.

Zoo Animal Trading Game

I made this game up, so I had doubts on how fun or playable it would be, but I was pleasantly surprised that the kids loved the game, played it twice in one sitting and would have played more, if I had the stamina for it.  We even added it to the rotation for family game night!

How to Make:

The Animal Cards: I printed out several copies of zoo animal cards ( Montessori MOMents Zoo Animals 1Montessori MOMents Zoo Animals 2 and Zoo Animal Photo Cards at A to Z Teacher Stuff). I printed them so that I had a few with four copies of some of the animals, some with six copies of some of the animals and some with eight copies of some of the animals. I cut them out so that they were the same size.

The Zoo Needs Cards: Then I hand made some cards that had a list of 5 animals...1 of the animals that there is the fewest of, two of the animals that are in the middle group and a pair of animals that are in the most frequent group. For example, 1 tiger, which is in the group of which there are only four cards, 1 camel and 1 black bear, which are in the group of which there are 6 cards for each and 2 giraffes, which are in the group that has eight cards.

How to Play:

Setting Up the Play: For 3 or more players. To begin, each player receives 1 Zoo Needs Card and 5 Animal Cards face down. The remaining Animal Cards are placed in the middle of the table face down as a draw pile. There will be a discard pile, face-up next to it as the game goes on.

Playing the Game: The goal of the game is to be the first to get all the animals on your own Zoo Needs Card. The game begins by the first player picking a player to ask to trade with. The first player says, " I want a (name of animal you are trying to get). Will you take a (animal you are trying to get rid of) for it?"
The other player has these options:
  1. Say, "Yes," and you exchange cards.
  2. Say "No, but I will trade you (another animal is suggested) for the (animal the first player has offered)
  3. Say: "No, but I will give you the (animal the first player desires) for a (another animal suggested).
  4. If the player doesn't have or doesn't want to get the animal the first player suggested: Say, "No, but I will give you that animal for (another suggestion for the animal the first player should give you). The first player then has the option of taking that trade or of saying, "No, thank you." turn is now over.
  5. Say, "No Thank you," giving no explanation. 
Once the first player's turn is over, whether he makes a successful trade or not, he draws an animal card and discards one of his choice. The turn now passes to the next player and it continues in this manner until one player gets the five animals on his Zoo Needs Card.


  1. Hey Phyllis! VERY cool game! I know some kids that might enjoy it a lot. Thanks!

  2. My kids would LOVE this! This is awesome.


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