BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 409

BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 409


IELTS Academic Reading Test



Read the text below and answer questions 28-40.

Why it is important to save species like the dormouse

A scheme to save the dormouse, a tiny woodland mammal, from extinction could lead to the reintroduction of larger lost species such as the wolf and sea eagle to the UK

More than 100 years after they were last recorded by naturalists in the Wensleydale valley in northern England rare dormice have returned to a secret woodland location there. Twenty breeding pairs of rare hazel dormice were recently reintroduced as part of a national scheme to reverse the decline of one of Britain’s most threatened mammals.

This reintroduction led by the People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and supported by a coalition of conservation groups is the 22nd in the last 23 years. Dormice depend on well managed woodlands and healthy connected hedgerows for their survival. But changes in land use since the 1940s have been so dramatic that the dormice that remain have limited living space and are increasingly isolated.

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Ahead of the release the PTES found a site of dense good quality woodland while the captive bred dormice waited in quarantine. After examination by vets the dormice were placed in their soft release accommodation in pairs. This consisted of secure wooden boxes fitted to trees and surrounded by a meter square cage. For 10 days the dormice were checked and given food daily then a small opening was made allowing them the freedom to explore while retaining the security of the cage. Everything was removed in October when the animals started preparing to go into hibernation for the winter.

‘The hope is that we have a free-living population in the wood but we won’t know how they have fared until next year’ said Ian White of the PTES. Unsuitable habitat, captive bred animals and incorrect management could all ruin the chances of success of such schemes. However a distinctive factor of this release White explained is the intention of linking up with another released dormouse population 3 miles away by managing the land between. The goal is to create a wider landscape for dormice and that will make the population more robust.

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Woodlands were traditionally managed through regularly cutting back certain trees to ground level to stimulate growth and provide firewood or timber for local residents. This system was known as coppicing, and as an added bonus it happened to provide varied food and plenty of light for dormice. But the practice has been largely lost with much remaining woodland sliced up by roads railways and fields. England also had more than 50% of its hedgerows dug up between 1946 and 1993 as small fields were combined to make larger ones and farmland was sold for building projects. All this has had an adverse effect on dormouse populations.

‘It’s very important that we reintroduce the dormouse because they are a good species to get people involved with conservation,’ said White. ‘They are a fascinating species that is rare but you can still see. They promote good woodland management and what’s good for dormice is good for a large range of species.’

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Helen Meech the director of Rewilding Britain, an organisation campaigning to restore lost species and habitats to the British countryside said that such reintroductions would increase people’s familiarity with living with more wild animals once again. People’s everyday wildlife experience is becoming limited to seeing grey squirrels and pigeons she explained. ‘We are increasingly disconnected from nature. In 30 to 40 years’ time, we might get to the point where we can start to think about bringing back wolves, bison or moose but let’s start with species that will have a lighter impact for now.’

Over centuries, Britain has lost many key species that are critical for healthy ecosystems. Here are some of the species conservationists have reintroduced or are proposing to reintroduce.

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The lynx is believed to have disappeared from Britain about 1000 year ago. Experts say it would help control the fast-growing population of red deer allowing forests to regenerate and support greater biodiversity. The preference of the lynx a shy animal to stay in its woodland habitat would make a threat to livestock of humans unlikely.

After an absence of 400 years beavers are back in Britain. The Devon Beaver project cites improvements in biodiversity and water after the reintroduction of a pair near Okehampton in 2011. Scotland’s first reintroduction in Knapdale forest in 2009 was hailed an outstanding success but an unlicensed free-living population in the river Tay has caused problems.

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Lost to Britain in the 1700s the wolf is the most controversial species proposed for reintroduction given its potential to kill agricultural livestock. But they are critical to the restoration of ecosystems that have been overgrazed by deer. Despite their fearsome reputation they present a low risk to people. Because of the space a wolf population would need the Scottish Highlands would be an obvious place for their reintroduction and could generate millions of pounds in tourism.

The sea eagle also known as the white-tailed eagle was driven to extinction in Britain earlier this century. A reintroduction programme has seen it return to the Inner Hebrides island of Mull. Proposals to bring it back to the east of England failed following concerns from landowners about the threat to livestock. Successful schemes in Europe have offered compensation for this.

Then there is the wild boar which disappeared in the 13th century because of hunting. They increase biodiversity and create space for trees and plants to grow but can cause damage to crops and gardens. The species has been quietly re-establishing itself in the woodlands of Britain for several decades.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 28—31

Choose ONE WORD ONLY from the text for each answer.

The procedure for the dormouse reintroduction in Wensleydale

It was necessary to do some preparation before the 40 dormice could be released in Wensleydale. First, members of the PTES had to choose a suitable wooded area for them. Then (28)……….. gave them a thorough check. The team divided the animals into (29)……….. before introducing them to their temporary tree homes. These were boxes which were enclosed by cages. Initially, the dormice could not get out, but the team brought (30)……….. on a regular basis.

Once the dormice got used to their new environment, a gap was cut in the netting so they could go out and return when they wanted. Then, before the animals were ready to start their annual (31)……….. in the autumn, the team took their temporary homes away; they intend to return and review the success of the project next year.

IELTS Academic Reading Test

Questions 32—36

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.

Write the correct letter in boxes 32—36 on your answer sheet.

32. Ian White says that one aim of releasing 40 dormice in Wensleydale is to

A. allow the public to observe the animals in the future.

B. test whether the area is sufficient for a large group.

C. experiment with new methods of caring for them.

D. get the group to mix with others that live nearby.

33. Coppicing is mentioned in the fourth paragraph as an example of

A. how changes in their natural habitat have affected dormouse numbers.

B. what was often done in woodland in the past to help dormice survive.

C. the relative importance of woodland and hedges in the countryside.

D. the particular types of trees that grow best in the English climate.

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34. Why does Ian White support the widespread reintroduction of dormice?

A. They are animals that can easily be bred in captivity.

B. The steps taken to help them will also benefit many other animals.

C. The public will be more likely to go for walks in woods and fields.

D. They are animals that should particularly attract younger children.

35. What does Helen Meech hope that the dormice project will lead to?

A. an increase in the populations of the most common species

B. a public who are used to sharing their environment with wildlife

C. a general awareness of the need to reintroduce larger animals soon

D. a willingness to spend time improving natural landscapes in the UK

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36. What is suggested about wolves returning to the UK?

A. The best solution would be to keep them in a secure wildlife park.

B. They would definitely need to be kept far away from humans.

C. There is only one area of the UK which would accept them.

D. Their presence could revive some damaged environments.

Questions 37—40

Look at the following statements (Questions 37—40) and the list of animals below.

Match each statement with the correct animal, A—E.

Write the correct letter, A—E, in boxes 37—40 on your answer sheet.

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List of Animals

A. The lynx

B. The beaver

C. The wolf

D. The sea eagle

E. The wild boar

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37. This species has already begun to settle in the UK without human assistance.

38. This species would be particularly suitable for reintroduction as it is unlikely to try to come into contact with people.

39. it is possible that reintroducing this species could bring considerable financial benefits to one area.

40. Some countries which have already reintroduced this species have systems to repay farmers if it kills any of their animals.

IELTS Academic Reading Test


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BEST IELTS Academic Reading Test 409

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28. VETS


30. FOOD


32. D

33. A

34. B

35. B

36. D

37. E

38. A

39. C

40. D

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