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Endangered and Threatened Species

Part I: Reading

Passage 1:

Endangered and Threatened Species

What Are Endangered and Threatened Species?

A century ago, a bird called the passenger pigeon lived in North America. There were so many passenger pigeons that people often saw great flocks of them flying overhead containing thousands, even millions, of birds. Today, there is not a single one left. What happened?

The passenger pigeon became extinct. All living passenger pigeons disappeared from the earth entirely. The passenger pigeon became extinct for two reasons. First, the forests where it lived were cut down to make way for farms and cities. Second, many pigeons were shot for sport and because they were good to eat. At that time, there were no hunting laws to protect endangered species like there are now.

The passenger pigeon is one of the many plants and animals that once lived on our planet and have become extinct. For example, dinosaurs, mammoths, and saber-toothed tigers all became extinct long ago. More recently, the dodo bird and the sea mink also have disappeared. Extinction has been going on since life began on earth. But today, extinction is happening faster than ever before. There are approximately 1300 endangered or threatened species in the United States today. Endangered species are those plants and animals that have become so rare they are in danger of becoming extinct. Threatened species are plants and animals that are likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

How Does Extinction Happen?

Species disappear because of changes to the earth that are caused either by nature or by the actions of people. Sometimes a terrible natural event, like a volcano erupting, can kill an entire species. Other times, extinction will happen slowly as nature changes our world. For example, after the Ice Ages, when the great glaciers melted and the earth became warmer, many species died because they could not live in a warmer climate. Newer species that could survive a warmer environment took their places.

Endangered and Threatened Species

People can also cause the extinction of plants and animals. The main reason that many species are endangered or threatened today is because people have changed the homes or habitats upon which these species depend. A habitat includes not only the other plants and animals in an area, but all of the things needed for the species' survival -- from sunlight and wind to food and shelter. The United States has many habitats, from ocean beaches to mountain tops. Every species requires

a certain habitat in order to live. A cactus, for example, needs the sunny, dry desert in order to grow. A polar bear, on the other hand, would not live in a desert, because it could not find enough food and water.

Pollution can also affect wildlife and contribute to extinction. The Nashville crayfish is endangered mainly because the creek where it lives has been polluted by people living nearby. Pesticides and other chemicals can poison plants and animals if they are not used correctly. The bald eagle is one bird that was harmed by pesticides. In the past, a pesticide called DDT was used by many farmers. Rains washed the pesticide into the lakes and streams where it poisoned fish. After eating the poisoned fish, the eagles would lay eggs with very thin shells. These eggs were usually crushed before they could hatch. Today, people are not allowed to use DDT, and this has contributed to the bald eagle being moved from endangered status up to threatened status. People can also endanger plants and animals by moving, or introducing, new species into areas where they do not naturally live. Some of these species do so well in their new habitat that they endanger those species already living there, called the native species. These introduced species are called invasive species. For example, when some fish are introduced into a lake or stream, they may prey upon, or eat the food of the native fish. The native species may then have to find a new source of food or a new home, or face becoming endangered or extinct.

Another way that people harm animals and plants is by taking them from the wild. Some people might catch an insect like the Mission Blue Butterfly for a butterfly collection. Others might capture a wild animal for a pet, or pick a flower because it's pretty. In addition, some people illegally hunt animals for food, skins, or fur. In the past, lots of American crocodiles were killed so that their skins could be made into shoes and other clothing. This crocodile is now an endangered species.

Why Protect Endangered and Threatened Species?

Endangered and Threatened Species

Can you imagine walking in the woods without hearing birds singing in the trees, or picture what a field would be like without wildflowers blooming in the grasses? Our plants and wildlife make the world more interesting and beautiful place. More importantly, all living species, including people, depend on other species for survival. For example, if a fish such as the shortnose sturgeon becomes extinct, all of the species that rely on it for food will also suffer and may become threatened or endangered.

We all depend upon plants and wildlife. From studying them, we have learned new ways of growing foods, making clothing, and building houses. Scientists have discovered how to use certain plants and animals as sources of medicines. If we fail to protect threatened or endangered species, we will never know how they might have improved our lives.

Endangered and Threatened Species

Endangered and threatened species need our help. Government agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service, along with state fish and wildlife agencies and private groups are making information available so people can better protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats. To do your part, contact these agencies for information and join the challenge in helping to protect endangered and threatened species, and all wildlife, from extinction.

Passage 2:

What does being extinct mean?

Endangered and Threatened Species

We are always hearing about extinct and endangered animals, but do you know what these terms actually mean?

So, what is extinction?

Extinction of a particular animal or plant species occurs when there are no more individuals of that species alive anywhere in the world - the species has died out. This is a natural part of evolution.

But sometimes extinctions happen at a much faster rate than usual. For example, at the end of the Cretaceous period 65 million years ago, a mass extinction caused the death of many different types of animals and plants, including the dinosaurs.

Endangered and Threatened Species

Today human intervention is also causing rapid extinction. Hunting, habitat destruction and the over exploitation of wildlife means that many different types of plants and animals are being pushed to the edge of extinction. It is this type of extinction, caused by humans, that we deal with in these pages.

Well, what is an endangered animal then?

Endangered animals and plants are at risk of extinction - there are so few of them that they might

soon be wiped out altogether. Although some plants and animals have always evolved more successfully than others, human activity is changing the world in such a way that many more animals and plants are endangered than would otherwise be.

Find out about the extinct and endangered animals

The dodo

Endangered and Threatened Species

Fact file

Name: Dodo

Status: Extinct

Habitat: Mauritius, an island in the Indian Ocean. This was the dodo's only home.

Description: Large flightless bird. We don't know exactly what it looked like. We have to rely on old pictures and the few bones and skins we have left - like the ones we have on display in the Museum.

Reasons for extinction:

The dodo only lived on one island - Mauritius. When sailors arrived in the sixteenth century they found that the dodo was very easy to catch, and even though it didn't taste very nice, many were eaten.

The dodo's natural habitat was almost completely destroyed after people started settling on Mauritius. And when pigs, cats and monkeys were introduced, they added to the problem by eating the dodo and its eggs.

The last confirmed sighting of a dodo was in 1681 and by the end of the 17th century there were no dodos left.

The giant panda

Endangered and Threatened Species

Fact file

Name: Giant panda

Status: Endangered

Habitat: Forests in Central China.

Description: The giant panda is a type of bear, although for a long time scientists weren't certain what its closest relatives were. You probably know what a panda looks like - it is very large and has a distinctive black and white coat. Giant pandas mainly eat bamboo but will also eat some small animals.

Why is it endangered?

The giant panda is one of the world's rarest animals and it is very shy. The giant panda eats a lot of bamboo. As people cut down more and more bamboo to clear land for building, industry and farming, the panda loses its food source and its home. The giant panda is very slow to reproduce, it has only a few babies during its life, and this also contributes to its vulnerability.

Now that people have realised that pandas are so endangered they have started to protect them. There are also a few giant pandas in zoos - a zoo in China has even managed to get their pandas to have a baby!

Passage 3:

Lost dogs being fed into grisly trade

Endangered and Threatened Species

Demand for dog meat is driving an illegal trade in stolen dogs, especially in rural areas, experts said, and causing a human health hazard.

专家表示,狗肉需求导致被盗犬只非法交易现象日益猖獗,一些农村地区尤为严重,而这也为人们的健康埋下隐患。

"Consumers risk their health if they eat dog meat, as none of the dogs (stolen from villages) had undergone quarantine procedures before they went missing," said Guo Peng, a professor at the School of Philosophy and Social Development of Shandong University.

来自山东大学哲学与社会发展学院的郭鹏教授表示:“吃狗肉是在拿自己的健康冒险,那些从农村偷来的狗失窃前从未接受过检验检疫。”

According to a survey by Guo`s research group conducted in May 2011, more than 80 percent of households in three villages on the outskirts of Jinan, Shandong province, have experienced dogs being stolen in recent years.

郭教授的研究小组于2011年5月份所进行的一项调查显示,近年来,山东济南周边的三个村庄有超过80%的家庭遭遇犬只被盗。

In Yaodian village, of 105 households, 88 percent said they had a dog presumably stolen. The village reported only one dog went missing in 2006, but 40 dogs went missing in the first five months of 2011.

姚店村共有105户,其中有88%的家庭表示自家丢失的狗估计是被盗的。据说这个村2006年仅有一只狗丢失,但是仅2011年的前五个月,丢失的狗就有40只之多。

"Rural households always keep dogs to guard their homes. Thieves prefer the bigger dogs as they have more meat," Guo said at a recent animal protection seminar in Beijing organized by

Northwest University of Politics and Law.

“农户常常养狗来看家护院。大型犬由于肉多更受小偷们的青睐。”郭教授于近日在京召开的动物保护研讨会上表示,此次研讨会由西北政法大学组织召开。

The stolen dogs are often sent to nearby meat markets and restaurants, while some are shipped to other parts of the country, such as Jiangsu and Jilin provinces, the survey found.

该项调查显示,被盗犬只通常被送到周边的肉类市场和餐馆,还有一些被运往江苏、吉林等地。

A 40-year-old man surnamed Liu in Changchun, capital of Northeast China`s Jilin, said he loves to eat dog meat especially in winter because he believes it is a good source of nutrition.

来自吉林省长春市的刘先生今年40岁,他表示自己很爱吃狗肉,尤其是到了冬天,他认为狗肉是很好的滋补品。

"I do have concerns where the dogs come from and whether dog meat is safe," he said. "But I only select clean and higher-class restaurants."

“我也有这样的担心,狗来自哪里,狗肉是否安全?”他说。“但是我只挑选那些环境卫生的高档餐馆。”

A branch manager of Hanzhuang, a well-known dog meat restaurant chain in Changchun, said about seven to eight dogs are eaten by diners in his restaurant every day

长春知名狗肉餐馆连锁店韩庄狗肉城的一家分店经理表示,每天来该餐厅就餐的食客大约会吃掉七到八只狗。

"Diners are always over 30 years old. It`s rare to see young people visit as they generally think it`s cruel to kill dogs," said the branch manager surnamed Zhang.

“食客都是些30岁以上的人。很少看到年轻人来吃饭,因为他们认为杀狗是件很残忍的事,”该分店的张经理说。

He claimed that the dog meat served in his restaurant posed no risk to human health.

他表示自己店里出售的狗肉对人体健康无害。

"All the dogs are kept by the restaurant and they are sent to qualified slaughterhouses," he said. “所有的狗都是餐馆自养的,而且它们会被送到正规的屠宰场,”他说道。

But animal lovers are working to stop the trade.

但是动物保护者正在努力制止这项交易。

In January, more than 1,100 dogs were saved from the slaughterhouse by a blogger in Chongqing, who attracted the help of hundreds of pet lovers and animal activists.

去年1月份,重庆的一名博主召集了数百名宠物爱好者以及动物保护者,从一家屠宰场里营救出1100多只狗。

In October 2011, two animal protection organizations paid about 83,000 yuan to a dog trader in Zigong, a city in Southwest China`s Sichuan province to rescue nearly 1,000 dogs that were to be delivered to restaurants in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

2011年10月,两个动物保护组织花费8.3万元人民币,从四川自贡的一名狗贩子手里营救出准备运往广西一些餐馆的近千只狗。

Part II: Glossary

http://www.wendangku.net/doc/67ed0e70be1e650e53ea991a.htmls of animals and plants

Fauna动物

mammal 哺乳动物

kangaroo (n.)袋鼠

joey (n.)小袋鼠

koala (n.)树袋熊,考拉

brown bear (n.)棕熊

polar bear (n.)北极熊

panda (n.)熊猫

dinosaur (n.)恐龙

antelope (n.)羚羊

leopard (n.)豹

elephant (n.)大象

zebra (n.)斑马

rabbit (n.)兔子

rhino (n.)犀牛

hippo (n.)河马

squirrel (n.)松鼠

goat (n.)山羊

sheep (n.)绵羊

camel (n.)骆驼

bat (n.)蝙蝠

marine mammal 海洋哺乳动物shark (n.)鲨鱼

dolphin (n.)海豚

whale (n.)鲸鱼

blue whale (n.)蓝鲸

killer whale (n.)虎鲸

minke whale (n.)小须鲸

Northern right whale (n.)北露脊鲸sperm whale (n.)抹香鲸

bird species 禽类

pigeon (n.)鸽子

falcon (n.)游隼,猎鹰

hawk (n.)隼,鹰

parrot (n.)鹦鹉

penguin (n.)企鹅

kaka (n.)卡卡啄羊鹦鹉(新西兰的一种橄榄色鹦鹉)emu (n.)鸸鹋

ostrich (n.)鸵鸟

insect 昆虫

wasp (n.)黄蜂

bee (n.)蜜蜂

reptile爬行动物

lizard (n.)蜥蜴

chameleon (n.)变色龙

amphibian 两栖动物

crocodile (n.)鳄鱼

frog (n.)青蛙

toad (n.)蟾蜍

fish 鱼类

herring (n.)鲱鱼

whiting (n.)牙鳕

others 其他

ocean urchin (n.)海胆

jellyfish (n.)水母

spider (n.)蜘蛛

Flora植物

marine forest (n.)海底森林

kelp forest (n.)海草林,巨藻林

pine tree (n.)松树

pepper (n.)胡椒

passion fruit (n.)西番莲子,鸡蛋果pea (n.)豌豆

lentil (n.)扁豆

lettuce (n.)莴苣,生菜

pumpkin (n.)南瓜

mushroom (n.)蘑菇

spinach (n.)菠菜

celery (n.)芹菜

cauliflower (n.)花椰菜,菜花

broccoli (n.)西兰花

aubergine / eggplant (n.)茄子

garlic (n.)大蒜

ginger (n.)姜

2.Terms related to biosphere

藻类Algae

两栖动物Amphibians

动物习性Animal behaviour

动物资源Animal resources

节肢动物Arthropods

生物多样性Biological diversity

生物资源Biological resources

生物圈保护区Biosphere reserves

群落生境Biotopes

鸟类Birds

植物园Botanical gardens

基因资源保护Conservation of genetic resources 生态平衡Ecological balance

濒危动物物种Endangered animal species

濒危植物物种Endangered plant species

河口保护区Estuarine conservation areas

动物区系Fauna

植物区系Flora

食物链Food chain

捕猎Hunting

无脊椎动物Invertebrates

陆地哺乳动物Land mammals

哺乳动物Mammals

海洋保护区Marine conservation areas

微生物Microorganisms

移栖种Migratory species

国家公园National parks

国家保护区National reserves

寄生生物Parasites

愉猎Poaching

灵长目Primates

保护区Protected areas

受保护的物种Protected species

爬行动物Reptiles

陆地生物资源Terrestrial biological resources

植被Vegetation

杂草Weeds

野生生物Wildlife

野生生物保护Wildlife conservation

野生生物生境Wildlife habitats

动物园Zoological gardens

细菌Bacteria

酶Enzymes

真菌Fungi

基因库Gene banks

种质Germ plasm

微生物资源Microbial resources

原生生物Protozoa

病毒Viruses

酵母Yeasts

生物技术问题Biotechnological issues

农业生物技术Agricultural biotechnologies

生物伦理学Bioethics

生物安全Biosafety

生物技术Biotechnologies

无性繁殖Cloning

与健康有关的生物技术Health-related biotechnologies

诱变剂Mutagens

突变微生物释放Mutated microorganisms release

突变体Mutants

繁殖控制Reproductive manipulation

DNA重组技术Recombinant DNA technology

动物的选择性繁殖Selective breeding of animals

植物的选择性繁殖Selective breeding of plants

生物技术的社会-经济影响Socio-economic impact of biotechnologies 致畸剂Teratogens

Part III: expressions and phrases

Snake its way 蜿蜒曲折而行

A snake in the grass伪装成朋友的阴险人

Cock-crow黎明

As gentle as a lamb/as meek as a sheep 像小绵羊一样温和、乖巧

A dark horse

A willing horse积极工作的人

A Trojan horse潜伏在内部的敌人

A sly/crafty fox, as cunning as a fox像狐狸一样狡猾

A fish in troubled water浑水摸鱼

As busy as a bee

As strong as a horse

A case of dog eat dog狗咬狗

Like a bear with a sore head脾气暴躁、态度恶劣

As blind as bat有眼无珠

Has bat in the belfry异想天开

A lion in the way/path拦路虎

Like a donkey in a lion's hide狐假虎威

Beard the lion in his den虎口拔牙

Place oneself in the lion's mouth 置身虎穴

As slippery as an eel极其狡猾