To Be or Not To Be?

African Forest Elephant – critically endangered
Amur Leopard – critically endangered
Black Rhino – critically endangered
Bornean Orangutan – critically endangered

And this is just the beginning of the long list of endangered animals you can find on the WWF website. Shocking, isn’t it? Soon they may become lost creatures like the five species, namely the Dodo, the Great Auk, the Bluebuck Antelope,  the Woolly Rhino and the Javan Tiger, you can read about in the ‘Five Fascinating Extinct Creatures’ Europeana blog post.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that there is also a long list of Animal Awareness Days when certain animal species are celebrated either nationally or globally, with the climax – World Animal Day falling on 4th October.  It seems animal advocates use every single opportunity to improve animals welfare by raising awareness of the fact that animals are not non-sentient things but, just like us – humans, sentient beings who can experience both positive and negative feelings and emotions. Have you seen on social media the famous photo of the dog rescued in the flooded area of Kherson hugging the leg of his rescuer? Then you know what I mean.

Animals on Europeana

Cats, dogs as well as other animals have always accompanied humans becoming part of our lives and, as a result, of our cultural heritage. Thus, you will find numerous resources on Europeana devoted to our greatest, most faithful and loyal companions. You can start with the rich Animals gallery presenting both domestic and exotic animals. The blog post entitled ‘Pets: Taking Care of Our Furry Friends’ describe some services and products that help owners care better about their pets. Vintage Animals, constituting a section of The Past But Not As You Know It exhibition, has provided me with interesting information concerning various species and I could not help smiling when looking at some of the retro photos enclosed. Do you know which animal was supposed to bring good luck to sailors? Read the article to find out. The Endangered Species gallery is a place where you can see photos of threatened animals and plants including the Black Rhino mentioned above. If you are a cat-person, you will definitely enjoy reading the Purr-fect Puzzles for International Cat Day blog post that contains a match-up game on artists and their cat artworks, a Medieval Cat Memory Game and a jigsaw puzzle, all of them accompanied by ‘claw-ver’ vocabulary that will make you grin like a Cheshire cat.😊 Finally, do not miss Life Under the Seas blog post depicting different species living underwater.

Make Them Be!

Only by making young people sensitive to the fate of animals and educating the young generation on animal rights can we ensure animal wellbeing in the future and, in numerous cases, it is some species’ existence that is at stake. Europeana educators  have already prepared a number of interesting ready-to-use resources that will help you achieve the above-mentioned goal. Save the Animals! Take Action! is an interdisciplinary learning scenario that will make your students realize how serious the situation of endangered species is.

Geometric Animals and Flower Symmetry is another cross-curricular resource that will enable pupils broaden their knowledge of the animal kingdom. Kids will love learning about animal categories, also by studying animal skeletons, when following From the World of Those Who Do Not Speak lesson idea while using Forests and Meadows: Invertebrates will allow educators to enrich their pupils’ knowledge of natural habitats and Why Are Fossils Important – of evolution of different species.. Adaptation to Climate Change with Technology raises the issue of agriculture and food production; by using Minecraft your students will suggest adaptation solutions concerning food supplies. My Best Friend – Cats vs Dogs in Life and Art will help you create an emotional bond between your students and the animals – maybe after the lesson a young person will ask their parents to adopt a pet?

Animals welfare depends on us – humans, just like their  ‘to be or not to be.’

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
/Mahatma Gandhi/

Nothing to add.

By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Mauritshuis.

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