Quoll by Sandra Kendell was published in 2008 but is still a poignant book that addresses the issue of feral and introduced animals in Australia.
This book is full of sadness in that the poor Quoll needs to leave her home because the Cane Toad has invaded her habitat.
However, the author Sandra Kendell makes us think during the book. When the Quoll meets the cane toad the cane toad is portrayed as a thoughtful creature who just wants somewhere else to live! It made me think – are cane toads really that bad? Do they just want somewhere to live? But then common sense prevailed and I knew that although they are animals and have a right to live the fact is they are taking over habitats of the native wildlife. They do need to be stopped.
There are great organisations out there in Australia working hard to help these amazing Australian animals. Australian Quoll conservancy is one of them.
So how can we use this book with our young readers?
Get outside and see what animals are in your backyard, local park and bushland. Write down and then research which ones are native to Australia and which ones are introduced
- How can we raise more awareness?
- What are feral animals? When is an animal feral? Explore how some animals which are problematic here are not overseas.
- Do we need feral animals? Do we need introduced animals? Explore rabbits, cane beetle and cane toad!
- Is it fair that we allow introduced species into the wild? Are there penalties?
- If there were no feral animals /introduced species. in Australia would there be other issues?
- Write a letter to your local council member outlining the problems pets can cause if they are not looked after properly.
- Present an argument for feral animals/introduced species.
- A great way to use this book is to research a feral animal or introduced species. Think of how you can : Raise awareness of the problems this animal causes and/or how we can eradicate or limit the spread of this animal. FAME is a great organisation who aims to bring about awareness of Endangered species: http://fame.org.au/projects/western-quoll
- Encourage this to be done through an anthology of writing pieces. Children need to know that to spread a message we need to think of our audience. AND our audience members all see, hear and think differently. SO by writing an anthology full of different pieces of writing we will grab everyone’s attention with at least one of those pieces of writing.
- This could include: Comic strips, arguments, narratives, picture books, documentaries, poems, songs, explanations and descriptions just to name a few.
- Look for statistics on feral animals – look for their numbers over the last 50 years.
- Look for statistics of local native animals and their rise or decline. Look at maps and the spread of the feral.
- Explore endangered animals, extinct and endemic!
- What is a cane toad? Where did it originate? Why did it come here – create a time line of the cane toad.
- What is the life cycle of a cane toad? Look at how they reproduce and how many young they can have!
- What is a Quoll? Where does it live in Australia? Explore the life cycle and habitat of a Quoll.
Living things have life cycles (ACSSU072)