IELTS|Intermediate|17. Wild animals

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Discuss the quotes

«Happiness is a warm puppy.»

🔗Charles M. Schulz

«Dogs never bite me. Just humans.»

🔗Marilyn Monroe

«Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.»

🔗A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Match the names of the animals with the photos and discuss the questions


Match the words with their definitions

READING

1 hour

  • three sections
  • 40 questions
  • a range of question types
  • Section 1: a passage with 13 questions
  • Section 2: a passage divided into paragraphs with 13 questions
  • Section 3: a passage with 14 questions

At least one passage contains arguments and/or views. This is usually Section 3.

  • Candidates are expected to read for / understand specific information, main ideas, gist and opinions.
  • Each section contains more than one task type. They include completion, matching, paragraph headings, True / False / Not Given and multiple choice.
  • Each question scores 1 mark; candidates receive a band score from 1 to 9.

Skimming refers to looking only for the general or main ideas, and works best with non-fiction (or factual) material.

  • skimming takes place while reading;
  • allows you to look for details in addition to the main ideas.
Scanning is another useful tool for speeding up your reading. Unlike skimming, when scanning, you look only for a specific fact or piece of information without reading everything.

How to skim?

  • read the first few paragraphs in detail, you will get a good idea of what information will be discussed;
  • then read only the first sentence of each paragraph. Also called topic sentences, they give you the main idea of the paragraph;
  • at the end of each topic sentence, your eyes should drop down through the rest of the paragraph, looking for important pieces of information, such as names, dates, or events.

How to scan?

  • establish your purpose;
  • locate the appropriate material;
  • get known how the information is structured before you start scanning is essential;

The material you scan is typically arranged in the following ways:

  • alphabetically,
  • chronologically,
  • non-alphabetically,
  • by category, or
  • textually.

Alphabetical information is arranged in order from A to Z, while chronological information is arranged in time or numerical order.

Read the text and answer the questions

1. What is the bee-eater’s habitat?

2. How long do they live?

The life of the European bee-eater

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A brilliant movement of colour as it catches its food in the air, the European bee-eater moves between three continents.

True to their name, bee-eaters eat bees (though their diet includes just about any flying insect). When the bird catches a bee, it returns to its tree to get rid of the bee’s poison, which it does very efficiently. It hits the insect’s head on one side of the branch, then rubs its body on the other. The rubbing makes its prey harmless.

European bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) form families that breed in the spring and summer across an area that extends from Spain to Kazakhstan. Farmland and river valleys provide huge numbers of insects. Flocks of bee-eaters follow tractors as they work fields. When the birds come upon a beehive, they eat well — a researcher once found a hundred bees in the stomach of a bee-eater near a hive.

European bees pass the winter by sleeping in their hives, which cuts off the bee-eater’s main source of food. So, in late summer, bee-eaters begin a long, dangerous journey. Massive flocks from Spain, France and northern Italy cross the Sahara desert to their wintering grounds in West Africa. Bee-eaters from Hungary and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe cross the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Desert to winter in southern Africa. «It’s an extremely risky stratagem, this migration,» says C. Hilary Fry, a British ornithologist who has studied European bee-eaters for more than 45 years. «At least 30 percent of the birds will be killed by predators before they make it back to Europe the following spring.»

In April, they return to Europe. Birds build nests by digging tunnels in riverbanks. They work for up to 20 days. By the end of the job, they’ve moved 15 to 26 pounds of soil — more than 80 times their weight.

The nesting season is a time when families help each other, and sons or uncles help feed their father’s or brother’s chicks as soon as they come out of their eggs. The helpers benefit, too, parents with helpers can provide more food for chicks to continue the family line. It’s a short, spectacular life. European bee-eaters live for five to six years. The difficulties of migration and avoiding predators along the way affect every bird. Bee-eaters today also find it harder to find food, as there are fewer insects around as a result of pesticides. Breeding sites are also disappearing, as rivers are turned into concrete-walled canals.

by Bruce Barcott, National Geographic magazine, 2012

Read the sentences and underline the key words. Decide what type of information you need for each gap

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Exam advice

Sentence completion

  • Underline the key words in each question.
  • Decide what type of information you need to complete the sentence.
    Read the section of the passage which deals with the key idea and choose your answer.
  • Read the completed sentence to make sure it is grammatically correct.

Complete Questions 1-8. Write no more than two words from the passage for each answer


The life of the European bee-eater

A brilliant movement of colour as it catches its food in the air, the European bee-eater moves between three continents.

True to their name, bee-eaters eat bees (though their diet includes just about any flying insect). When the bird catches a bee, it returns to its tree to get rid of the bee’s poison, which it does very efficiently. It hits the insect’s head on one side of the branch, then rubs its body on the other. The rubbing makes its prey harmless.

European bee-eaters (Merops apiaster) form families that breed in the spring and summer across an area that extends from Spain to Kazakhstan. Farmland and river valleys provide huge numbers of insects. Flocks of bee-eaters follow tractors as they work fields. When the birds come upon a beehive, they eat well — a researcher once found a hundred bees in the stomach of a bee-eater near a hive.

European bees pass the winter by sleeping in their hives, which cuts off the bee-eater’s main source of food. So, in late summer, bee-eaters begin a long, dangerous journey. Massive flocks from Spain, France and northern Italy cross the Sahara desert to their wintering grounds in West Africa. Bee-eaters from Hungary and other parts of Central and Eastern Europe cross the Mediterranean Sea and Arabian Desert to winter in southern Africa. «It’s an extremely risky stratagem, this migration,» says C. Hilary Fry, a British ornithologist who has studied European bee-eaters for more than 45 years. «At least 30 percent of the birds will be killed by predators before they make it back to Europe the following spring.»

In April, they return to Europe. Birds build nests by digging tunnels in riverbanks. They work for up to 20 days. By the end of the job, they’ve moved 15 to 26 pounds of soil — more than 80 times their weight.

The nesting season is a time when families help each other, and sons or uncles help feed their father’s or brother’s chicks as soon as they come out of their eggs. The helpers benefit, too, parents with helpers can provide more food for chicks to continue the family line.

It’s a short, spectacular life. European bee-eaters live for five to six years. The difficulties of migration and avoiding predators along the way affect every bird. Bee-eaters today also find it harder to find food, as there are fewer insects around as a result of pesticides. Breeding sites are also disappearing, as rivers are turned into concrete-walled canals.

by Bruce Barcott, National Geographic magazine, 2008

Tick the words appropriate for each category

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Choose the correct options to complete the sentences

Example: It’s human (nature/animal/human/natural) to want to find a solution to our problems.

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Discuss the questions

1. Are there any animals in your country which are in danger of disappearing?

2. What is the main cause of their extinction?

3. What can countries do to protect wild animals and birds?

4. Why is it important to protect wildlife?

Discuss the questions

Criteria:

  1. Answer all the points
  2. Introduce and round off the talk
  3. Use some of the signposting phrases
  4. Use the tenses correctly
  5. Sound interested in what you are saying
  6. Look at the examiner while speaking

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  1. Do you like animals?
  2. What’s your favourite animal? Why?
  3. Are people in your country fond of animals?
  4. Compared with the past, have there been any changes concerning pets in your country/hometown?
  5. Do you think cities are suitable places for keeping a pet?
  6. Do children like animals?
  7. What kind of animals do you think children like?
  8. What was your favourite animal when you were a child?
  9. Did you have any pets when you were a child?
  10. What do you think are the benefits of a child having a pet?
  11. If you have children in the future, will you allow them to raise a pet?

Signposting stems for an introduction
Firstly, this … (your topic) and its links with … (your first idea) / Next, it closely examines … in relation to … (your next idea) / Finally, it focuses on … and how this affects …(your next idea)

Signposting stems for a paragraph which introduces or develops a new idea

One aspect which illustrates … (your topic) can be identified as … (the idea you want to develop)
The current debate about … (your topic) identifies an interesting viewpoint on …(the idea you want to develop)
This first / next / final section provides a general discussion of …(the idea you want to develop)

Signposting stems for a paragraph which expands upon a previous idea

Building on from the idea that … (mention previous idea), this section illustrates that … (introduce your new idea).
To further understand the role of … (your topic or your previous idea) this section explores the idea that … (introduce your new idea)
Another line of thought on … (your topic or your previous idea) demonstrates that … (introduce your new idea)

Signposting stems for a paragraph which offers a contrasting view

However, another angle on this debate suggests that … (introduce your contrasting idea)
In contrast to evidence which presents the view that … (mention your previous idea) an alternative perspective illustrates that … (introduce your contrasting idea)
However, not all research shows that … (mention your previous idea). Some evidence agrees that … (introduce your contrasting idea)

Signposting stems to sum up an idea in a paragraph

This evidence highlights that … (sum up your idea)
There is general agreement that … (sum up your idea)
The strength of such an approach is that …(sum up your idea)

Signposting stems for a conclusion

Clearly, this essay has shown that the main factors which impact upon … (your topic) are …(summarise your main ideas)
The evidence presented in this assignment has shown that … (mention the conclusions you have drawn)
To conclude, this assignment has addressed a number of significant issues which show that … (mention the conclusions you have drawn)

Asking for help

  • Could you say that in other words?
  • I’m not sure what you mean exactly.
  • Do you mean …?

Stalling for time

  • That’s a(n) interesting/tough/difficult question.
  • I don’t know much about this issue but …
  • I’ve never really thought about it before but …

Giving an opinion

  • Well, I think/suppose/would say …
  • … for two/several reasons.
  • I think most people would agree that …

Self-correcting

  • Or rather …
  • I mean …
  • Or, should I say …

Rephrasing

  • What I mean is …
  • What I want to say is …
  • What I’m trying to say is …

Commenting on your own ideas

  • I know this may sound obvious but …
  • This may sound strange but …
  • I’m sorry to have to say this but …

Giving an example

  • Take …, for example.
  • Look at …, for instance.
  • A good example of this is …

Introducing other ideas

  • On the other hand, …
  • Or, to look at it another way, …
  • Then again, …

Getting to the point

  • Anyway, to get to the point, …
  • Anyway, the main point I want to make is that …
  • So, in answer to your question, …

Concluding

  • So, that’s why I think …
  • Anyway, that’s why…
  • So, to return to my original point, …

Useful language

  • a zebra
  • a whale
  • a cow
  • a tree frog
  • a scorpion
  • a penguin
  • a crocodile
  • a prey
  • to breed
  • a flock
  • a predator
  • a fauna
  • a coat
  • a predator
  • a beak
  • a fur
  • feathers
  • a paw
  • a claw
  • a horn
  • a thorn
  • flora
  • vegetation
  • a branch
  • a root
  • a petal
  • a twig
  • a trunk

Evaluate your answer according to the criteria. Tick the ones you have sticked to

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Read the text and choose the correct answers

Humpback whale breaks migration record

A whale surprises researchers with her journey. A lone humpback whale travelled more than 9,800 kilometres from breeding areas in Brazil to those in Madagascar, setting a record for the longest mammal migration ever documented.

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are known to have some of the longest migration distances of all mammals, and this huge journey is about 400 kilometres farther than the previous humpback record. The finding was made by Peter Stevick, a biologist at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine.

The whale’s journey was unusual not only for its length, but also because it travelled across almost 90 degrees of longitude from west to east. Typically, humpbacks move in a north-south direction between cold feeding areas and warm breeding grounds — and the longest journeys which have been recorded until now have been between breeding and feeding sites.

The whale, a female, was first spotted off the coast of Brazil, where researchers photographed its tail fluke and took skin samples for chromosome testing to determine the animal’s sex. Two years later, a tourist on a whale-watching boat snapped a photo of the humpback near Madagascar.

To match the two sightings, Stevick’s team used an extensive international catalogue of photographs of the undersides of tail flukes, which have distinctive markings. Researchers routinely compare the markings in each new photograph to those in the archive.

The scientists then estimated the animal’s shortest possible route: an arc skirting the southern tip of South Africa and heading north-east towards Madagascar. The minimum distance is 9,800 kilometres, says Stevick, but this is likely to be an underestimate, because the whale probably took a detour to feed on krill in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica before reaching its destination.

Most humpback-whale researchers focus their efforts on the Northern Hemisphere because the Southern Ocean near the Antarctic is a hostile environment and it is hard to get to, explains Rochelle Constantine, who studies the ecology of humpback whales at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. But, for whales, oceans in the Southern Hemisphere are wider and easier to travel across, says Constantine. Scientists will probably observe more long-distance migrations in the Southern Hemisphere as satellite tracking becomes increasingly common, she adds.

Daniel Palacios, an oceanographer at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, says that the record-breaking journey could indicate that migration patterns are shifting as populations begin to recover from near-extinction and the population increases. But the reasons why the whale did not follow the usual migration routes remain a mystery. She could have been exploring new habitats, or simply have lost her way. «We generally think of humpback whales as very well studied, but then they surprise us with things like this,» Palacios says. «Undoubtedly there are a lot of things we still don’t know about whale migration.»

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Listen and complete the form with one word in each gap

Good evening everyone. You’re all likely to be familiar with pictures of the tawny owl, because of all the owl species in the UK it’s actually the most common one. But the chances are that you’re more likely to have heard one than actually seen one, as it’s also strongly nocturnal. This means that it normally ventures out at night.

So what kind of habitat does the tawny owl prefer? Well, a survey carried out in the nineteen eighties confirmed that this owl is most likely to be found in woodland. If you look at a map of tawny owl distribution across Britain, you’ll only see gaps in the treeless marshy areas of eastern England, and in some of the more upland parts of north-west Scotland. However, you can sometimes find populations of tawny owls in urban areas too, either in parks or in large gardens.

The tawny owl shows some obvious adaptations to its natural habitat. For example, both its wings and its tail are short, which helps it to manoeuvre through the trees. Also the bird’s plumage is a mixture of brown and grey, and this provides suitable camouflage for when the owl perches up against a tree trunk. Then, there are its large eyes. The tawny owl’s visual capacities are considerably better than those of humans, and although it can’t see in complete darkness, it’s sufficiently well equipped to be able to navigate its way around woodland on all but the most overcast nights. Another factor that contributes to the tawny owl’s success as a hunter, is its excellent memory of the layout of different areas. If you combine this ability with the owl’s strongly territorial and sedentary nature — most populations of tawny owl are ‘sit and wait’ predators — you realise that it has a good opportunity to predict where prey might be found. Finally, as well as having large eyes, the owl’s sense of hearing is excellent, and this helps it to locate potential prey as it sits on its perch.

Turning now to the tawny owl’s diet … Woodland tawny owls feed mainly on mammals, especially small ones such as wood mice and bank voles. But they’ll also take things like frogs, or bats or even fish, if they happen to be available. In urbanised landscapes, the owls seem to prey more on birds. So there are some differences there.

Let’s just look briefly now at survival rates in the tawny owl. Young tawny owls face a difficult time once they leave home, and two out of every three are likely to die within their first year. So with such high mortality levels it’s a good job that established breeding pairs can produce young over a number of seasons, and maximise their chances of passing their genes on to the next generation of owls.

I’ve already mentioned the sedentary nature of the tawny owl. But it’s not just adult tawny owls that are sedentary in their habits. Young birds, dispersing away from where they were born, rarely move far — the average distance is just four kilometres. There also appears to be some reluctance to cross large bodies of water — the owl is absent from many of the islands around our shores, with only occasional sightings in Ireland and the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England.

Right, well, now I’ll show you some photographs that have been taken in…

Read the task and prepare your 2-minute speech on the topic «Animals in my country»

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  • Speak no longer than 2 minutes.
  • Cover all of the points, use the active vocabulary of the lesson.

Exam tip

  1. Structure your talk by using your notes and introducing you points clearly.
  2. Use appropriate phrases to mark the stages in your talk.
  3. Give reasons for your answers.
  4. Offer extra details and extend on your answer.
  5. Sound interested in what you are saying.
  6. Speak clearly so that the examiner can hear you easily.
  7. Use a wide range of vocabulary

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Clue card

Describe a wild animal from your country.

You should say:

  • what the animal is,
  • what it looks like,
  • where it lives, and
  • explain how you feel about this animal.

Wordlist

Wordlist1_IELTS|Int|L17

Useful language

Asking for help

  • Could you say that in other words?
  • I’m not sure what you mean exactly.
  • Do you mean …?

Stalling for time

  • That’s a(n) interesting/tough/difficult question.
  • I don’t know much about this issue but …
  • I’ve never really thought about it before but …

Giving an opinion

  • Well, I think/suppose/would say …
  • … for two/several reasons.
  • I think most people would agree that …

Self-correcting

  • Or rather …
  • I mean …
  • Or, should I say …

Rephrasing

  • What I mean is …
  • What I want to say is …
  • What I’m trying to say is …

Commenting on your own ideas

  • I know this may sound obvious but …
  • This may sound strange but …
  • I’m sorry to have to say this but …

Giving an example

  • Take …, for example.
  • Look at …, for instance.
  • A good example of this is …

Introducing other ideas

  • On the other hand, …
  • Or, to look at it another way, …
  • Then again, …

Getting to the point

  • Anyway, to get to the point, …
  • Anyway, the main point I want to make is that …
  • So, in answer to your question, …

Concluding

  • So, that’s why I think …
  • Anyway, that’s why…
  • So, to return to my original point, …

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared

Read the information about IELTS Writing task 2 and the task

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IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Essay

During the Exam you should spend about 40 minutes on this task and write at least 250 words. Essays can be of different kinds: opinion essays, advantages and disadvantages essays, problem and solution essays, discussion essays (Discuss both views), two-part question essays.

IELTS Writing Task 2

IELTS Essay

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Nowadays animal experiments are widely used to develop new medicines and to test the safety of other products. Some people argue that these experiments should be banned because it is morally wrong to cause animals to suffer, while others are in favour of them because of their benefits to humanity.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

Read the exam task instruction and plan. Write an essay

Write at least 250 words.

Instruction

  1. Think what you are going to write about.
  2. Brainstorm ideas about pros and cons. Provide the example for each point. Think about the conclusion.
  3. Write the plan following the given structure.
  4. Using the results of your brainstorming and the plan, write the essay.
  5. Follow the structure of the essay and use the given vocabulary.
  6. Make sure you have used linking words and phrases to make you essay easy to read and understand.
  7. Check your essay.

Plan

Introduction

  • Sentence 1 – Paraphrase question
  • Sentence 2 – Outline sentence

Supporting Paragraph 1 (Agreeing)

  • Sentence 3 – Topic sentence (Pros)
  • Sentence 4 – Explain the topic sentence
  • Sentence 5 – Example

Supporting Paragraph 2 (Disagreeing)

  • Sentence 6 – Topic sentence (Cons)
  • Sentence 7 – Explain the topic sentence
  • Sentence 8 – Example

Conclusion

  • Sentence 9 – Summary of the main points

For more information, refer to the following website 🔗IELTS Writing Task 2 Essay Structures


Useful language

  • To understand the role of …
  • Firstly, … and it links with …
  • Next, it closely examines … in relation to …
  • Finally, it focuses on … and how this affects …
  • One aspect which illustrates …can be identified as …
  • The current debate about … identifies an interesting viewpoint on …
  • This first/next/ …. provides a general discussion of …
  • Building on from the idea that … , this section illustrates that … .
  • To further understand the role of … this section explores the idea that …
  • Another line of thought on … demonstrates that …
  • However, another angle on this debate suggests that …
  • In contrast to evidence which presents the view that … an alternative perspective illustrates that …
  • However, not all research shows that … . Some evidence agrees that …
  • This evidence highlights that …There is general agreement that …
  • The strength of such an approach is that …
  • Clearly, … has shown that the main factors which impact upon … are …
  • The evidence has shown that …
  • To conclude, ….

Animal experiments

Урок Homework Курс
  • People about animals
  • Who is it?
  • Who are bee-eaters?
  • What do bee-eaters do?
  • Natural world
  • Talking about animals
  • Animals in our life
  • Humpback whale
  • Tawny owl
  • Describing an animal
  • Animal experiments