Track 32

Examiner: Are zoos cruel to animals?

Student: I don’t know. I think some zoos are cruel, for example zoos that keep animals in sm all cages. But there are also zoos that give the animals space to move and look after them well. This i think is good. Zoos can also help protect endangered species, and this is a really great thing. There are some countries that have no laws to protect their animals – that’s a real problem. So, overall I don’t think zoos are as bad as people think.

Examiner: Do you think we could do more to protect our wildlife?

Student: Yes, we could do a little more. I think many areas of rainforest which have been destroyed by industries really need to be rejuvenated. Lots of w ildlife live there and if they don’t have these forests, they won’t be able to survive. Gorillas, which are one of the most endangered rainforest species, are dying out rapidly.

Examiner: Do you think hunting is justified?

Student: I think hunting sometimes is a necessary thing. But I think hunting as a sport, when the main purpose is enjoyment, is a little cruel. We all need to eat, and traditional societies which don’t have shops to buy food need to be able to hunt for the things they need. This is necessary for them to be able to live.

 

Track 33

1 Owls are divided into two groups, which are classified ‘typical owls’ and ‘barn owls’.
2 Barn owls, which are nocturnal, fly silently.
3 Owls which are nomadic rear a great number of young.
4 Long-eared owls which live in the north migrate to Europe for winter.

 

Track 34

Hello everyone. As you know, this week’s lectures are on w ildlife in Britain, and today we’re going to look at the barn owl, which is a common nocturnal creature around the British Isles. Now, if you have a look at page three of your handout, you w ill see an outline of a barn owl. Now, it looks like a harmless creature, but this actually couldn’t be further from the truth. They may be relatively harmless to you and me, but to the British rodent, they are a killer! Now, why is this?

Well, firstly it has a lot to do with their swiftness and silence. Look, for example, at the wings, which can vary from 80cm to 95cm. That’s almost a metre! Wings that large have a great deal of power. Now, most people think that beaks are probably the way most birds hunt. But these beaks, which are curved downwards, are not used to hunt prey. When owls hunt prey, they have two massive anatomical advantages. Firstly, their feathers, which have serrated edges, can separate from each other. This makes their flight absolutely silent, so they can approach their  prey unnoticed. It is their claws which are used to catch prey. Once they are upon the prey, the extremely powerful claws go into action. So, you’ll see, they are not really as sweet’ as they look!

Now, their habitats…

Track 35

In this module, we’re going to be exploring the natural habitats that the planet Earth provides, starting with probably one of the most famous, rainforests. Now, rainforests are exactly that: forests which see a great amount of rain. The reason they are so important is that they provide excellent conditions for many species to survive in. Let’s look at how this is by exploring exactly what the rainforest is made up of.

Now, starting from the bottom of the rainforest, we can find the forest floor. Or rather we can’t find it, as it is littered with leaves and branches which cover the ground! This area is a haven for creatures like spiders and all kinds of wildlife. Now, this forest floor occasionally has a shrub layer. This layer, which is only located near rivers, contains sm all trees and well, shrubbery, as the name suggests. It is a popular area for all manner of amphibians.

The next area within the rainforest is generally without light and extremely hot and damp. This area, which is called the understory, which by the way is all one word – under – story, is a popular home for creatures which dwell in the branches, like snakes, lizards, and sometimes even jaguars!

The most well-known area, called the canopy, is populated by some birds and sm all insects. The canopy is basically the tree-tops. It is the densely-packed canopy that blocks the light to the lower areas of rainforest. Not much reaches above the canopy, but there are a few exceptional trees that climb much further into the sky. These trees grow in areas called emergent zones. These zones, which are a perfect environment for birds and other sm all creatures, lie at the very top of the rainforest, and individual trees can stretch up to 50 metres in the air.
Now, as we can see, this means that rainforests have a multitude of unusual conditions, perfect for many creatures. But why are such conditions perfect? Well, let’s go on to look….