The Reading / Listening - Ravens and Tortoises - Level 5

Drones are flying to the defence of tortoises in the USA's Mojave Desert. Tortoises in the Mojave are under threat of being wiped out by ravens. The raven is a bigger version of the crow. The raven population in the Mojave has increased by 700 per cent in the past 25 years. This has had a catastrophic impact on the desert tortoises. A local conservationist said that in some places, "where there used to be 10 ravens, there are now 15,000". If nothing is done to help the tortoises, they could be completely wiped out. Their numbers have fallen by over 90 per cent since 1990.



Technology may rescue the tortoises. Biologists and drone operators have a strategy to reduce the raven population. They are using drones with a technique called "egg oiling". This involves flying drones up to ravens' nests, removing fertilized eggs, coating them with corn oil, and then replacing them. The oil blocks oxygen from entering the egg, thus ending the life of the embryo inside. A biologist said: "If ravens figure out that their eggs are rotten, they are likely to...nest someplace else." A conservationist said egg oiling was justified as "part of a comprehensive approach".

Try the same news story at these levels:

    Ravens and Tortoises - Level 4 or  Ravens and Tortoises - Level 6

Sources
  • https://www.huffpost.com/entry/drones-ravens-baby-tortoises-california_n_5cfda2b5e4b0aab91c081d60
  • https://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-raven-killing-drone-protects-desert-tortoises-20190609-story.html
  • https://www.thedailybeast.com/california-biologists-deploy-drones-to-battle-raven-population-explosion-threatening-desert-tortoises


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice, drag and drop activities, crosswords, hangman, flash cards, matching activities and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)



Phrase Matching

Paragraph 1

  1. Drones are flying to the defence
  2. under threat of
  3. The raven is a bigger version
  4. This has had a catastrophic impact on
  5. A local
  6. where there used to
  7. they could be completely
  8. Their numbers have fallen
  1. of the crow
  2. be 10 ravens
  3. by over 90 per cent
  4. conservationist
  5. wiped out
  6. the desert tortoises
  7. of tortoises
  8. being wiped out

Paragraph 2

  1. have a strategy to reduce the
  2. This involves flying drones
  3. fertilized
  4. coating them
  5. The oil blocks
  6. ending the life of the
  7. A conservationist said egg oiling
  8. part of a comprehensive
  1. with corn oil
  2. was justified
  3. oxygen
  4. approach
  5. embryo inside
  6. raven population
  7. eggs
  8. up to ravens' nests

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

Drones (1) ___________________ the defence of tortoises in the USA's Mojave Desert. Tortoises in the Mojave are (2) ___________________ being wiped out by ravens. The raven is (3) ___________________ of the crow. The raven population in the Mojave has increased by 700 per cent in the past 25 years. This has had (4) ___________________ on the desert tortoises. A local conservationist said that in some places, "where there used to be 10 ravens, there are now 15,000". If (5) ___________________ to help the tortoises, they could be (6) ___________________. Their numbers have fallen by over 90 per cent since 1990.

Technology (7) ___________________ tortoises. Biologists and drone operators have a (8) ___________________ the raven population. They are using drones with a technique called "egg oiling". This involves flying drones up to ravens' nests, removing fertilized eggs, (9) ___________________ corn oil, and then replacing them. The oil blocks oxygen from entering the egg, thus ending the life of (10) ___________________. A biologist said: "If ravens figure out that their (11) ___________________, they are likely to...nest someplace else." A conservationist said egg oiling (12) ___________________ "part of a comprehensive approach".

Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

DronesareflyingtothedefenceoftortoisesintheUSA'sMojaveDesert.T
ortoisesintheMojaveareunderthreatofbeingwipedoutbyravens.Ther
avenisabiggerversionofthecrow.TheravenpopulationintheMojaveha
sincreasedby700percentinthepast25years.Thishashadacatastrophi
cimpactonthedeserttortoises.Alocalconservationistsaidthatinsome
places,"wherethereusedtobe10ravens,therearenow15,000".Ifnothi
ngisdonetohelpthetortoises,theycouldbecompletelywipedout.Their
numbershavefallenbyover90percentsince1990.Technologymayres
cuethetortoises.Biologistsanddroneoperatorshaveastrategytoreduc
etheravenpopulation.Theyareusingdroneswithatechniquecalled"eg
goiling".Thisinvolvesflyingdronesuptoravens'nests,removingfertiliz
edeggs,coatingthemwithcornoil,andthenreplacingthem.Theoilblock
soxygenfromenteringtheegg,thusendingthelifeoftheembryoinside.
Abiologistsaid:"Ifravensfigureoutthattheireggsarerotten,theyarelik
elyto...nestsomeplaceelse."Aconservationistsaideggoilingwasjustifi
edas"partofacomprehensiveapproach".

Student survey

Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

(Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

Discussion — Write your own questions

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

(a) ________________

(b) ________________

(c) ________________

(d) ________________

(e) ________________

(f) ________________

(g) ________________

(h) ________________

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

(i) ________________

(j) ________________

(k) ________________

(l) ________________

(m) ________________

(n) ________________

(o) ________________

(p) ________________





Free writing

Write about this topic for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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Answers

(Please check your answers against the article above.

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