This module is a resource for lecturers




Ice breaker

Create a short quiz to test the general knowledge on conservation and wildlife trafficking and build up interest in the module. This website is useful for setting up quizzes.


Individual exercises

  • Identify a protected area in the Global North that uses fortress-style conservation to protect biodiversity and wildlife. Students should write up a short case study that explores how fortress conservation manifests in the chosen protected area. Are there differences with the case studies discussed in the module?
  • Research environmental defenders on-line. Find an example of an individual or group and write up a profile. Who are they? Why did they get involved? Have their actions made an impact? Have there been impacts on their lives linked to their activism?
  • Ask students to visit the website of the Namibian Association for CBNRM Support Organizations. They should select a community conservancy. Ask them to compile a profile of the conservancy. Questions to consider: How does the conservancy finance itself? How many people are directly and indirectly employed? What is the status of wildlife in the conservancy? Students should consider how the outbreak and impact of COVID-19 influenced the fortunes of people and wildlife.
  • Ask students to undertake a detailed case study of a community-centered conservation programme/project (the People not poaching database provides more than 200 case studies). Students should explore direct and indirect benefits from conservation to communities, the success of the programme in terms of decreasing poaching, challenges and long-term resilience. Allow 30 minutes thereafter hold a short discussion on key insights and lessons learnt from the case studies.
  • Ask students to choose a key concept from the course module (e.g. preservation, sustainable use or contested illegality) and write an explanation of the concept for a general audience.

Group exercises

  • Split the class into small groups of 3-5 students. Ask the students to prepare a case study on human-wildlife conflict in their own neighbourhood / country (e.g. sharks, wolves, monkeys, raptors, rats, otters) and how this may encourage involvement in wildlife crime. They should consider the origins of the conflict, how the conflict affects individuals and the broader community and what could be done to mitigate the conflict. Allow 30 minutes for preparation and thereafter each group should do a short presentation of 5 minutes to the class. Could be presented via Prezi or PowerPoint through screensharing. Adapt timings to accommodate size of class.
  • Split the class in half. Ask students to read through these two documents: and Ask one group to prepare arguments in favour of trophy hunting while the other group should prepare arguments against it. Students should consider the history of conservation, the difference between poaching and trophy hunting and ask themselves, and each other, who gets to decide on the future of wildlife.
  • Read through the case study on the Akashinga and the Black Mambas and discuss whether the approach fights gender stereotypes while at the same time reinforcing them.
  • Ask students to form small groups to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of community conservation approaches such as carbon credits, microcredits and PES. Students may also look at approaches that indirectly incentivize conservation such as rural development and investments in small-scale farming – compare with Diversifying local livelihoods while sustaining wildlife (Roe et al. 2020)
  • Ask the class to do an evaluation of the effectiveness, benefits and shortcomings of community conservation as a response to wildlife crime. The evaluation can take the form of a class discussion or a written exercise.
  • Movie critique: The class should watch two short movies on wildlife crime (find suggestions in the multi-media section) and write a movie review or critique. Students could also do presentations on the movies or conduct an online discussion.

Field visit

If possible, students could visit a nearby protected area and look at the protected area through the lens of history and political ecology. How was the protected area created? Which species reside in the area? Who protects the area? If there are communities living near or in the protected area, students could visit a few households and speak with them to find out the community’s perception of the protected area. This will also help students problematize the notion of ‘pristine wilderness’ further along with measures like ‘fencing’, ‘hunting rights’ etc. After the visit, reflect on how students perceived a protected area or forest before the visit and whether the visit has changed their perceptions as they had to contextualize and possibly adjust their lens.

Next: Class structure
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