All About Animals: Primary Teachers: Lesson Plan 1: What Did You Say?

How does this fit into the guidelines? EN1: Speaking and Listening. To listen, understand and respond appropriately to others, pupils should be taught to recall and re-present important features of an argument, talk, reading, radio or television programme, or film (2c).

Teachers’ Note: Read the passage aloud to the class and then ask them to write a brief essay summing up the key points in the passage. Pointers are given at the end of the passage to help the class. You can write these up on the board or read them aloud as they work.

Lesson Plan: What Did You Say?

Close to the Edge,
From Born to be Wild: The Livewire Guide to Saving Animals by Juliet Gellatley of Viva!,

Mass tourism and package holidays have had bad effects on some countries, but they have also opened a lot of eyes to new and wonderful sights. Ranjit Patel, 16, is one who will never be the same again after an incredible holiday encounter.

‘I got special leave from school to go on holiday one January. Mum, Dad, me and my sister were all off to the Gambia, in West Africa. It sounded really cool, really foreign. The thing I wanted to find out about was slavery because apparently this is where it all began. But there’s no doubt about what I remember most – she was a five year-old called Julia.

‘We met by accident one day in a place called the Abuko nature reserve. We went there when there were no other tourists around because my mum knew the guy who ran the place. He showed us around on our own and took us to parts that other people never saw.

‘We’d already seen loads of young chimps who’d been rescued from beach photographers – they were eventually going to be put back in the wild. But then, walking down a path in the trees, we came across Julia, walking hand in hand with her own special minder.

‘The whole thing somehow looked just normal, a baby gorilla and a park keeper out for a morning walk! Julia came up to my waist and she sat down with us while her minder told us her story. It was like something out of James Bond.

‘Her whole family group had been slaughtered by hunters but she was grabbed to be a pet. Somehow she had been sold from one person to another until she ended up in Belgium. The people who had her were looking to sell to the highest bidder. Apparently she was worth an amazing 75,000.

‘A wildlife group found out about her and the house where she was kept – a dark, dingy basement all on her own. I really don’t like to think about how she’d got there or what she must have been feeling.

‘(While the story went on, Julia decided I was her friend and lay across my knees on her back and kept fiddling with my ears and nose with her hard little fingers.)

‘For some reason, the wildlife group couldn’t just take her but had to get her into Holland first, a country next door to Belgium. They set up a complicated “sting” whereby a couple of them pretended to be American buyers. They managed to persuade the people holding Julia that they were as corrupt as them and were genuinely going to pay out that kind of money. The kidnappers agreed to deliver Julia to a Dutch address.

‘In fact, the rescuers were waiting on the other side of the border and as soon as the kidnappers came through the barrier, they pounced on them. Julia had been drugged and was hidden in the boot of the car.

‘She is now part of a rehabilitation project and the hope is that one day they will introduce her to a wild gorilla family who will accept her. The problem is, Julia knows nothing about the wild and is having to be taught which fruits to pick and what shoots and leaves are good to eat.

‘Julia had become fascinated by one of my hands and was holding and looking at it really closely. Her minder said not to let her put it in her mouth because although it was a friendly thing for her to do, she didn’t know her own strength and might bite it badly. I felt her move my hand towards her mouth and I tried to stop her. I even used both hands but it wasn’t any good. She was so strong my hand went straight into her mouth and she began to nibble it. Fortunately, she was really gentle and it didn’t hurt at all.

‘I looked at this beautiful not-so-little creature, sprawled out on me, happy as anything, and I felt ashamed to be human. I’ll never understand how people can do such terrible things to such wonderful creatures.

‘I know a lot of people feel the same way, like the wildlife group workers who risked their own safety to save Julia. Thank God for them.’

What did Ranjit initially want to find out about in the Gambia?
When did Ranjit first see Julia?
What happened to Julia’s family?
How was Julia smuggled into Holland?
What lessons did Julia have to learn before she could go back to the wild?
How did Ranjit feel about what humans had done to Julia?