Today we continue our series on ecology and conservation with a look at a particularly endangered member of the black bear family. One in ten black bears is actually born with a white coat. which is the result of a special

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gene that surfaces in a few. Local people have named it ‘the spirit bear’. And according to the legends of these communities its snowy fur brings with it a special power. Because of this, it has always been highly regarded by them – so much that they do not speak of seeing it to anyone else. It is their way of protecting it when strangers visit the area.The white bear’s habitat is quite interesting. The bear’s strong relationship with the old growth is a complex one. The white bear relies on the huge centuries-old trees in the forest in many ways. For example. the old-growth trees have extremely long roots that help prevent erosion of the soil along the banks of the many fish streams. Keeping these banks intact is important because these streams are home to salmon, which are the bear’s main food source. In return, the bear’s feeding habits nurture the forest. As the bears eat the salmon, they discard the skin and bones in great amounts on the forest floor, which provide vital nutrients. These produce lush vegetation that sustains thousands of other types of life forms, from birds to insects and more.

Today, the spirit bear lives off the coast of the province of British Columbia on a few island.There is great concern for their survival since it is estimated that less than two hundred of these white bears remain. The best way to protect them is to make every effort to preserve the delicate balance of their forest environment -in other words, their ecosystem.The greatest threat to the bear’s existence is the loss of its habitat. Over many years, logging companies have stripped the land by cutting down a large number of trees. In addition, they have built roads which have fractured the areas where the bear usually feeds, and many hibernation sites have also been lost. The logging of the trees along the streams has damaged the places where the bears fish. To make matters worse, then the number of salmon in those streams is declining because there is no legal limit on fishing at the moment.All these influences have a negative impact on the spirit bear’s very existence, which is made all the more fragile by the fact that reproduction among these bears has always been disappointingly low.

And so, what’s the situation going forward? Community organizations, environmental groups and the British Columbia government are now working together on the problem. The government is now requiring logging companies to adopt a better logging method, which is a positive step. However, these measures alone may not be sufficient to ensure a healthy population of the spirit bear in the future.Other steps also need to be taken. While it is important to maintain the here also needs to be more emphasis on its expansion. The move is justified as it will also create space for other bears that are losing their homes …


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IELTS LISTENING – Self drive tours in the USA. S14T1

IELTS SIMULATOR FREE GENERAL TRAINING ONLINE LISTENING – Self drive tours in the U S A S14AT1 ...Jamie:Good morning. World tours. .. IELTS SIMULATION


Self drive tours in the USA

Jamie:Good morning. World tours. My name is Jamie. How can I help you?

Andrea Brown:Good morning. I want some information on self drive tours in the US A. Could you send me a brochure?

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Jamie:Of course. Could I have your name, please?

Andrea Brown: Andrea Brown.

Jamie:Thank you. And your address?

Andrea Brown:Twenty four oddly road.

Jamie:Can you spell that

Andrea Brown: A-R-D-L-E-I-G-H Road postcode Bh520p

Jamie:Thanks. And can I have your phone number

Andrea Brown:is a mobile. All right, fine.It’s O double seven, eight, six,six, four, three Oh, nine one.

Jamie:Thank you. And can I ask you where you heard about world tours from a friend, or did you see an advert somewhere?

Andrea Brown:No. I read about you in the newspaper.

Jamie:Okay, I’ll get the bridges in the post to you, but can I give you some information over the phone? What kinds of things do you want to do on your holiday?

Andrea Brown:I’m interested in going to California with my family. I’ve got two children and we want to hire a car.

Jamie:Okay, We have a couple of self drive tours there visiting different places of interest in California. The first one begins in Los Angeles, and there’s plenty of time to visit some of the theme parks there.

Andrea Brown:That’s something on my children’s list, so I’d want to include that.

Jamie:Good. Then you drive to San Francisco from San Francisco. You can drive to Yosemite Park where you spend a couple of nights. You can choose to stay in a lodge or on the campsite.

Andrea Brown:I don’t like the idea of staying in a tent. It would be too hot

Jamie:right on the tor ins in Las Vegas. Okay.The other trip we can arrange is slightly different. It starts in San Francisco, then you drive south to Cambodia.

Andrea Brown:Someone told me there’s a really nice castle near Cambodia. Will we go now that

Jamie:Hearst Castle is on that road so you could stop there.

Andrea Brown:Good. I’d like to do that. Does this trip also go into the desert?

Jamie:No. It continues to Santa Monica, where most people like to stop and do some shopping.

Andrea Brown:We have enough of that at home, so that doesn’t interest us.

Jamie:Okay, well, you could go straight on to San Diego.

Andrea Brown:That’s good for beaches, isn’t it?

Jamie:That’s right. That’s a good place to relax. And your children might like to visit the zoo before flying home.

Andrea Brown:Now, I don’t think so. We want some time for sunbathing and swimming So how many days are the trips on DH? How much do they cost?

Jamie:The first one I told you about is a self drive tour through California, which last twelve days and covers two thousand and twenty kilometres. The shortest journey is two hundred six kilometres on. The longest is six hundred thirty two kilometres. The cost is five hundred twenty five pounds per person. That includes accommodation, car rental on a flight but no meals.

Andrea Brown:Okay. And the other trip

Jamie:that lasts nine days. But you spend only three days on the road. You cover about nine hundred eighty kilometres altogether.

Andrea Brown:So is that cheaper then?

Jamie:Yes, it’s almost one hundred pounds cheaper. It’s four hundred twenty nine pounds per person, which is a good deal.

Andrea Brown:So that covers accomodation and car hire. What about flights?

Jamie:They aren’t included, but these hotels offer dinner in the price.

Andrea Brown:Okay. Well, thank you very much. I’ll be in touch when I’ve had a chance to look at the brochure.

Jamie:I’m pleased to help. Good bye.

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Lecturer : In today’s lecture, I’m going to continue our work on plants and talk about plants that live in the desert. Now, just a bit of background information first. As you know, about 1/3 of the world is covered in desert, and the sort of area they’re found in is important. Does it usually created because the area of land where they lie is located in something that’s called a Q31 rain shadow?

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Now this is a region that’s beneath a mountain range, and what happens is that the wind blows over the mountains towards the area. But as it does so, the air loses its moisture and becomes very dry. Because of this down wind location, rainfall often totals just a Q32 few inches a year, or in some regions there’s absolutely none, and you can imagine the effect of this. It means that whatever rain does fall evaporates quickly from the ground, and that makes the soil salty and also leaves behind a whole range of other Q33 minerals as well.

Now, despite this, desserts are home to many living things, in fact, there second only to tropical rainforests in the variety of plant and animal species that live there. So how do plants grow in a place that’s so dry? Well, their specially adapted to do this? In fact, many of the fascinating features of desert plants are adaptations. These are traits that helped the plants survive in its harsh environment, and desert plants have two main adaptations. The first is that they have an ability to Q34 collect water and to store it. Some have large root systems and amazing internal water storage systems. 

The second adaptation is that they have features that can actually reduce water loss, and these are often very special leaf designs or additions to the plant’s structure. So let’s have a look at some examples. Desert plants often look very different from any other plants. Okay, This 1st 1 is the Saguaro Cactus, which grows in North America. It looks a bit like an open hand with long fingers. This plant has a large network of roots that extend far, far away from its trunk, and these roots collect water after rain. Then the waters taken here to the green Q35 stem. This is where all its water is kept, and it keeps the whole plant alive until the next rain comes. It’s a pretty woody plant. In fact, its skeleton is actually used in building materials, so it’s quite strong. This next plant is called the barrel cactus, named because it does look rather like a barrel. It can grow up to a meter in height, which is pretty big, and it has long yellow spines. Now this plant has an interesting adaptation because its shape allows it to Q36 expand when it rains, hence the barrel and store water in its spongy tissue. But then it shrinks in size during dry times as it uses the stored water. So that’s a clever design.

The third cactus, often just one plant reaching upwards, has these Q37 white hairs all over its surface. It’s called the old man cactus because of the white hairs, and these help the plant reflect the hot desert sun. So this adaptation is, Ah, water conservation aid, if you like. Another adaptation, not directly connected with water but with survival, is found on something like the prickly pear cactus. There are hundreds of these in the Mexican desert. I’m sure you’ve seen them on films and adverts. Um, Yes, so because desert plants store water in their spongy tissue, animals will eat them. So the plant has sharp Q38 thorns specially designed to prevent the predator from being able to well get near it a tool. Our next plant is called the desert Spoon. This plant has long leaves that fan out, and they’re very succulent because they can also store water inside. However, there also usually very Q39 tough, and this helps keep the water inside and also makes from less tasty. 

Finally, we come to the aloe plant. This is one that many people keep in their homes. It’s an attractive plant, which has leaves that look and feel rather waxy. This surface behaves in a similar way, toe a Q40 plastic wrapper and helps the plant to hold the water in. It’s a wonder plant, this one. It’s juice has been used as a medicine for centuries, and even today you can find it in products on the pharmacists shelves or in creams and lotions. Okay, well, we’re going to take a closer look.

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Tutor : Come in.

Ahmed : Hi.

Tutor : Oh, hello, Ahmed. How are you?

Ahmed : Fine, thanks.

Tutor : Have a seat. So, how do you think the seminar went last week?

Ahmed : Q21 Oh, well, I enjoyed it. Yes, though I’m not sure. I really followed parts of the discussion that took place. You know about the theory and all that?

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Tutor : Well, we can talk about that later. But were you comfortable in the group?

Ahmed : Oh, it’s better, I think, than working on your own, though you’re comparing yourself all the time with the other students there.

Tutor : Okay, well, let’s talk about how you did and look at some strategies to help you in the future. 

Ahmed : That would be great.

Tutor : Now, one of the things that students often overlooked when they go to seminars is that you do need to prepare for them. You can’t rely on other people.

Ahmed : I know I did look at the results of the experiments we did in class and write them up beforehand as you said.

Tutor : Yes, and that was good. It made it easier to analyze them. But you have to do some background reading as well. Did you get the list of articles I sent round? Mmm.

Ahmed : I started to read them.

Tutor : Okay, well, you’ll know that for next time.

Ahmed : Yes, sure

Tutor : So let’s move on to your participation in the seminar.

Ahmed : Right

Tutor : Perhaps you can tell me how you think that went.

Ahmed : Yeah, well, I’m not used to talking to more than a couple of people. It’s very different from the way we learn in my home country.

Tutor : Yes, I appreciate that.

Ahmed : So I think I am. Well, I know I should have included everyone, but I think I kept turning to the person next to me.

Tutor : Is that because you were avoiding eye contact?

Ahmed : I don’t think so. I’m not shy. It’s just habit, I think.

Tutor : Well, that will improve as we do more seminars.

Ahmed : Uh

Tutor : Um, another difficulty is knowing when to speak.

Ahmed : Like when it’s your turn.

Tutor : Yes,

Ahmed : I felt I did wait for a pause.

Tutor : Yes, you handled that quite well.

Ahmed : Thing I’m really concerned about is keeping up with the discussion.

Tutor : Does your mind wander off?

Ahmed : Sometimes I jot down a lot of information, but I still find myself thinking about something else when lots of other students are talking.

Tutor : If there’s an assignment to do at the end of a group that usually helps,

Ahmed : I’m sure it does.

Tutor : Okay, now, the last thing I want to look at is the role you play in the seminar.

Ahmed : What do you mean?

Tutor : Well, when students work in groups, they don’t all behave the same way. Some students that quiet, some look for support. Some ask a lot of questions.

Ahmed : That’s a new idea to me. I don’t know what I’m like.

Tutor : That’s probably because you’re thinking about your own performance all the time.

Ahmed : I guess so. I mean should I be different in some way?

Tutor : What I would say is that when we do the next seminar, you should look more at the people around you. You know, look outside yourself.

Ahmed : Like ask myself how they feel?

Tutor : Yes, or what they’re looking for from the group.

Ahmed : Okay,

Tutor : It doesn’t take much, but it’s important to watch what other students they’re doing.

Ahmed : Okay, I’ll do that.

Tutor : Fine. Now I’m going to suggest a couple of strategies for next week seminar.

Ahmed : Okay, that’s great. I need to participate more.

Tutor : Well, it’s not a question of saying more, but we need everyone to feel comfortable about giving their views.

Ahmed : Then the discussion is better.

Tutor : Yes, so you’re a confident person.

Ahmed : You should. I make sure I’m near someone who’s quiet

Tutor : You can do, but it’s more about how well you pay attention to other students.

Ahmed : Okay, so I need to be attentive,

Tutor : Yes, and then encourage someone else to same or by saying what did you mean when you said or what do you think about the idea that

Ahmed : That way I’m talking?

Tutor : Yes, but you’ll find it other people will talk to. You’ll all start to get really involved

Ahmed : Right they are good suggestions.

Tutor : The other thing that can really help is the way you take notes.

Ahmed : Yeah, I know I write down everything, but I should be stricter with myself.

Tutor : Well, you actually need to think a few days ahead.

Ahmed : Really

Tutor : Yes, what’s the topic and what’s the best way of making notes.

Ahmed : I see. So I have a strategy when I walk in the room.

Tutor : Exactly. Then when you read through them later, they’ll make sense and you won’t have to write them out again.

Ahmed : I always have to do that.

Tutor : The other thing, I would say is that you should include a small column in your notes where you conjugate down things you want to go back to before the seminar ends.

Ahmed : Like a reminder.

Tutor : Yes, notes aren’t just for later. You can use them as a prompt when there’s a pause in the discussion.

Ahmed : That’s been really hopeful.

Tutor : Okay, see you in class tomorrow.

Ahmed : Thanks.

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