Giraffe Riff Raff
Lesson Overview

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TIME ALLOTMENT: 1-2 class periods


This lesson uses video segments from the NATURE film “Tall Blondes” to illustrate the effects of wildlife conservation and relocation, using giraffes as an example.  Students will explore the different types of human-animal relationships, and then view video segments which look at human-giraffe relations and the effect to preserve the giraffe population in parts of Africa.  This will be followed by a discussion of human behavior and impact on wildlife populations.  As a culminating activity, students will examine different careers in wildlife conservation.



Clip 1: “In the Wild”

Introduction to translocation of giraffes.

Clip 2:
“On the Move”

Example of processes of translocation.

Clip 3:

“New Digs”

Giraffes arrive at the game farm and get used to their environment.

Clip 4: “Giraffe Manor”

Giraffe Behavior & human interactions

Access the streaming and downloadable video segments for this lesson at the Video Segments Page.


NATURE: Tall Blondes: Giraffe Translocation

Background on translocation and an interview with the director of a wildlife relocation firm.

The Game Capture School

Web site for a school located in South Africa dedicated to wildlife conservation and education.

GCC: African Fund for Endangered Wildlife

Organization which concentrates on education school children about conservation efforts.

The Giraffe Manor

Official Web site for the Giraffe Manor hotel & giraffe preserve, as seen in “Tall Blondes.”

Wildlife Translocation Association

Association of companies engaged in the wildlife conservation industry in South Africa

Wildlife Conservation Society

Home of the conservation organization led by the Bronx Zoo.


National Science Education Standards, Grades 5-8

Content Standard E


  • Scientific inquiry and technological design have similarities and differences. Scientists propose explanations for questions about the natural world, and engineers propose solutions relating to human problems, needs, and aspirations. Technological solutions are temporary; technologies exist within nature and so they cannot contravene physical or biological principles; technological solutions have side effects; and technologies cost, carry risks, and provide benefits.
  • Many different people in different cultures have made and continue to make contributions to science and technology.
  • Science and technology are reciprocal. Science helps drive technology, as it addresses questions that demand more sophisticated instruments and provides principles for better instrumentation and technique. Technology is essential to science, because it provides instruments and techniques that enable observations of objects and phenomena that are otherwise unobservable due to factors such as quantity, distance, location, size, and speed. Technology also provides tools for investigations, inquiry, and analysis.
  • Perfectly designed solutions do not exist. All technological solutions have trade-offs, such as safety, cost, efficiency, and appearance. Engineers often build in back-up systems to provide safety. Risk is part of living in a highly technological world. Reducing risk often results in new technology.
  • Technological designs have constraints. Some constraints are unavoidable, for example, properties of materials, or effects of weather and friction; other constraints limit choices in the design, for example, environmental protection, human safety, and aesthetics.
  • Technological solutions have intended benefits and unintended consequences. Some consequences can be predicted, others cannot.
Content Standard F


  • When an area becomes overpopulated, the environment will become degraded due to the increased use of resources.
  • Causes of environmental degradation and resource depletion vary from region to region and from country to country.


  • Human activities also can induce hazards through resource acquisition, urban growth, land-use decisions, and waste disposal. Such activities can accelerate many natural changes.


Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history.

Scientists and engineers work in many different settings, including colleges and universities, businesses and industries, specific research institutes, and government agencies.

Science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs. Students should understand the difference between scientific and other questions. They should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do. For example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.


For each group of students:

  • Large sheets of paper or posterboard for Introductory Activity

For each student:


Students will be able to:

  • Provide examples of human interactions with animals;
  • Understand ways in which human behavior affects wild animal populations;
  • Detail processes of conservation and translocation;
  • Explain the pros and cons of wildlife conservation efforts;
  • Identify and describe careers in wildlife conservation.

Before the Lesson/Prep for Teachers

Prior to teaching this lesson, you will need to:

Preview all of the video segments and Web sites used in the lesson.

Download the video clips used in the lesson to your classroom computer, or prepare to watch them using your classroom’s Internet connection.

Bookmark the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom. Using a social bookmarking tool such as or diigo (or an online bookmarking utility such as portaportal) will allow you to organize all the links in a central location

Next: Proceed to Activities

  • Joss Klevins

    OK.. I understand most of what you are saying but it is a lot to digest. I know it will sink in later on. Your writing is concise and to the point. By the way, Giraffe Riff-Raff Lesson Overview | Nature | PBS was a great choice for a title.

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