Questions for ‘Boot camp teaches rare animals how to go wild’


This young orangutan has lived its whole life in the jungle. Others raised in captivity no longer know what it means to be wild. Before they can join this one, they must go to boot camp for basic survival skills.  

Lillian Tveit/iStockphoto

To accompany feature “Boot camp teaches rare animals how to go wild


Before Reading

1.  How is the life of an animal that grows up in captivity different from one born in the wild?

2.  Why might someone want to release a captive animal into the wild? What types of problems might that animal have?

During Reading:

1.  What is rewilding?

2.  Why did black-footed ferrets nearly go extinct?

3.  Why did Dean Biggins try out his American “boot camp” with Siberian polecats? What animals did he hope to save?

4.  What is “robo-badger”?

5.  What is a vulture?

6.  What are three reasons that the California condor population declined?

7.  What is imprinting? And how does it explain why zookeepers now use a puppet condor to feed chicks?

8.  What are three sources of rescued orangutans?

9.  What is “jungle school”?

10.  What are two things that an orangutan must be able to do before it is released to the wild?

After Reading:

1.  Rewilding a species takes a lot of effort, time and money. Is that a good use of those resources? Why or why not? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.

2.  Pick your favorite animal and imagine that it existed only in captivity. Develop a plan for rewilding it. What kind of space would you need to breed the animal? How would you teach it to be a wild animal? Where would you release the animal when it was ready?