Level 2 l Upper intermediate

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1 1 Warmer What do you know about elephants? 1. Which is larger? The African elephant or the Indian elephant? 2. Which eats mainly grass and which eats mainly leaves? 3. In which type of elephant do the females rarely have tusks? 2 Key words Fill the gaps in the sentences using these key words from the text. The paragraph numbers are given to help you. habitat savannah vulnerable poaching disperse botanist broccoli droppings ivory disrupt 1. If an animal is, it is at risk from something negative or harmful. (para 1) 2. A is the type of place that a particular animal usually lives in. (para 1) 3. To means to interrupt something and prevent it from continuing. (para 2) 4. is a large, flat area of land covered with grass in a warm part of the world. (para 4) 5. is a vegetable with green stems and many small dark green or purple buds on the ends. (para 4) 6. are the solid waste produced by animals or birds. (para 5) 7. To means to spread or to make things spread in different directions over a wide area. (para 5) 8. is the yellowish-white bone that an elephant s tusks are made of. (para 9) 9. is the crime of illegally catching or killing animals. (para 9) 10. A is someone who studies plants, especially as their job. (para 10) 3 Find the information Find the following information in the text as quickly as possible. 1. What percentage of tree species in tropical forests have seeds dispersed by animals? 2. What does UNFCCC stand for? 3. How much organic manure does an adult elephant produce each week? 4. How many African elephants are killed by ivory poachers each year? 5. How many elephants were there in Africa before modern guns were introduced? 6. How many elephants are there in Africa today?

2 The ivory trade isn t just a disaster for elephants. It threatens our future too Ian Redmond 12 August, World Elephant Day is when people celebrate elephants and raise money to protect them. It is strange that the largest land animal, a symbol of strength and intelligence, is so vulnerable but numbers across Africa and Asia are falling as human activities and expanding agriculture squeeze elephants into smaller and smaller areas of habitat. 2 Even where habitat remains, the elephants themselves despite legal protection are hunted by criminal gangs for their tusks, for their meat and for their babies. And on top of all this, elephants like every other species are suffering as climate change raises average temperatures, disrupts rainfall patterns and brings more drought and extreme weather events. 3 Why should we care about elephants? We find their size impressive; their strange shape and behaviour make them popular with children; their matriarchal society and intelligence fascinate us; their ability to suffer and show compassion strikes a chord with us; and they are high on the list of must-see animals on wildlife-watching holidays in Africa and Asia so they bring in money from tourism. 4 All these reasons are perfectly valid but they miss the point of what elephants are for, ecologically speaking. The role they evolved to play in the forest and savannah that covered Africa and Asia is really important. If you fly across parts of Africa and Asia, you will see rainforests stretching to the horizon like a carpet of broccoli, with huge trees like lumps on the surface. 5 How did these centuries-old rainforest giants get there? Five or six hundred years ago, maybe a thousand in some cases, an ecological event took place: a monkey, bird or elephant ate some fruit, chewed and swallowed the seeds, then deposited them far from the parent plant in their droppings. In tropical forests, between 75% and 95% of tree species have seeds dispersed by animals, rather than by wind or water. 6 Until recently, tropical forest trees were valued economically by the outside world only for their beautiful hardwood timber. The Paris climate agreement, however, emphasizes a new economic value the capture and storage of gigatonnes of carbon. The inclusion of forest carbon in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) climate negotiations has been slow and complicated because of the tricky question of permanence. A forest can be here today and felled or burned tomorrow so how can we guarantee the same storage of carbon per unit area long into the future? 7 The answer is to think of forests not as sticks of carbon but as forest ecosystems, made of thousands of interdependent species of plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms. And carbon capture and storage is only one of several ecosystem services these forests and woodlands provide. 8 Because of their size, appetite and migratory habits, elephants disperse more seeds of more species further than any other animal. Tree species with small seeds such as figs can be dispersed by birds, bats, antelope and so on. Species with large seeds, such as mangoes, need big animals such as apes and elephants to disperse them, sowing the seeds of the trees of tomorrow. Their droppings are important, too, as fertilizer. An adult elephant produces about one tonne of first-class organic manure every week, helping young plants and trees to grow. This is why ecologists refer to elephants as megagardeners of the forest. 9 Ivory poaching is killing around 30,000 African elephants a year. This is a tragic loss to the surviving members of each elephant s family and to the potential earnings from tourism but think of the ecological impact. Think of the loss of soil fertility of 30,000 fewer tonnes of manure a week and millions of seeds not dispersed. Consider this in a broader timescale: before the invention of modern guns, it is thought there were some 10m elephants across Africa. Now, there are under half a million. We have already lost 95% of the workforce of the forest and savannah. This is why the vast majority of the countries with natural elephant populations are calling for an end to the ivory trade everywhere. 10 There is one more element of the carbon story relevant to elephants. Botanists have reported a correlation between seed size and wood

3 density. Tree species with big seeds store more carbon than tree species with small seeds. So, to maintain the high rates of carbon storage in Africa s and Asia s tropical forests, elephants are essential. The fact is that to stabilize the climate, we need elephants (and other gardeners of the forest ) to keep doing what they do as much as they need us to leave them alone. Guardian News and Media 2016 First published in The Guardian, 12/08/16 4 Comprehension check Are these statements true (T) or false (F) according to the text? 1. Numbers of elephants in Africa are falling but, in Asia, they are rising. 2. Most tree species in tropical forests have seeds that are dispersed by animals rather than by wind or water. 3. Elephants disperse more seeds of more species further than any other animal. 4. Mango seeds are dispersed by birds, bats and antelope. 5. Elephant droppings are an important fertilizer. 6. Trees with small seeds store more carbon than trees with big seeds. 5 Find the word Find the following words and phrases in the text. 1. a noun meaning a long period of time when there is little or no rain and crops die (para 2) 2. a noun meaning a feeling of sympathy for someone who is in a bad situation because you understand and care about them (para 3) 3. a three-word verb phrase meaning produce an emotion such as sympathy in someone (para 3) 4. a three-word verb phrase meaning fail to understand something (para 4) 5. a noun meaning wood used for building houses or making furniture (para 6) 6. a verb meaning cut down a tree (para 6) 7. a three-word noun phrase meaning almost all (para 9) 8. a noun meaning a connection or relationship between two or more things that is not caused by chance (para 10) 6 Compound words Match the words in the left-hand column with those in the right-hand column to make words from the text. 1. rain 2. hard 3. wood 4. wild 5. time 6. must- f. life a. land b. scale c. fall d. see e. wood

4 7 Word-building Complete the table using words from the text. verb noun 1. include 2. agree 3. earn 4. store 5. behave 6. fertilize 8 Discussion Discuss the statements. Ivory poaching is a kind of terrorism. Developed countries should send money and military aid to help African countries protect elephants.

5 KEY 1 Warmer 1. the African elephant 2. The Indian elephant eats mainly grass and the African elephant mainly leaves. 3. the Indian elephant 2 Key words 1. vulnerable 2. habitat 3. disrupt 4. savannah 5. broccoli 6. droppings 7. disperse 8. ivory 9. poaching 10. botanist 3 Find the information 1. between 75% and 95% 2. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 3. about one tonne 4. around 30, about ten million 6. under half a million 5 Find the word 1. drought 2. compassion 3. strike a chord 4. miss the point 5. timber 6. fell 7. the vast majority 8. correlation 6 Compound words 1. c 2. e 3. a 4. f 5. b 6. d 7 Word-building 1. inclusion 2. agreement 3. earnings 4. storage 5. behaviour 6. fertilizer 4 Comprehension check 1. F 2. T 3. T 4. F 5. T 6. F

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