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CONSERVATION IN ANTARCTICA

Conservationists have launched a campaign to save Antarctica, the last
unspoilt wilderness on earth, from the potentially disastrous effects of drilling for oil. An international alliance of more than 30 groups in Britain, the United States, Australia and New Zealand, including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, plan a campaign of publicity, political lobbying and demonstrations to try to stop any exploitation of the continent.

Fourteen signatories of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, including Britain,
Argentina, the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union, are currently trying to divide up exploration rights at a series of secret meetings. They hope to complete agreement by next year. It is believed that there are very rich oil deposits in the Weddell and Ross seas. Although conditions there are the most hostile on earth, there are no insuperable barriers to extracting the oil. The “club of 14” are drawing up conventions to protect wildlife, but there is no chance that these will satisfy the conservationists who want Antarctica declared a permanent wilderness area. This, they say, is the only certain way to prevent catastrophic damage to its delicate environment from an oil spill.

Despite its intense cold and dark nine-month winter, Antarctica supports an abundant wildlife. Although there are relatively few species, they occur in huge numbers. Its waters support the largest mammal on earth, the blue whale, as well as the threatened fin and humpback whales. Among its seals
are the Weddell seal, unique to the area, and the leopard seal, which eats penguins. The water’s edge teems with birds, including the world’s furthest- travelling migrant, the arctic tern. Antarctica’s bird and mammal life is especially vulnerable to oil damage because it is so dependant on one species – krill, a minute shrimp-like creature which lives in the sea. Because of its position at the bottom of the food chain, any serious damage to krill would threaten birds and larger animals.


As an unspoiled area, Antarctica is also an invaluable base for judging
the effects of pollution elsewhere in the world. Dr R.B. Heywood of the British Antarctic Survey, who has spent 22 years in the region, says: “The area is pristine. If you drive a vehicle over the lichen, the track will be there for hundreds of years because everything is so slow-moving.”

Dr Heywood believes that it is unrealistic to ask for Antarctica to be declared a wilderness area. “But we need firm international agreement that,however the area is to be exploited, it should be done with very careful management schemes”.

Reading Comprehension n. 6 CONSERVATION IN ANTARCTICA


1. Answer the following comprehension questions.
· What is the passage about?…………………………………………………………………………..
………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
· How is the international alliance trying to stop any exploitation of Antarctica?……………………….
………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
· Are there a lot of different varieties of animals and birds living in Antarctica?………………………
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………
· Why is krill important to the survival of wildlife in Antarctica?………………………………………
………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
· Give at least 3 reasons stated in the passage for the importance of Antarctica………………………..
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………

· Translate the following words or phrases respecting their word class as used in the text.
a) have launched (1)………………………………………………….
b) drilling (3)…………………………………………………………
c) demonstrations (6)…………………………………………………
d) exploitation (6)……………………………………………………..
e) signatories (7)………………………………………………………
f) currently (8)………………………………………………………….
g) exploration rights (9)………………………………………………..
h) hostile (11)…………………………………………………………..
i) extracting the oil (12)………………………………………………..
j) drawing up conventions (13)…………………………………………
k) wildlife (13)………………………………………………………….
l) there is no chance (13)……………………………………………….
m) oil spill (16)…………………………………………………………
n) threatened (20)…………………………………………………………
o) teems with birds (22)………………………………………………….
p) The bottom of the food chain (26)……………………………………..


2. Complete the following sentences with the phrase which fits best. Circle the letter A, B, or C. 29
· Conservationists want to save Antarctica because
a) oil companies have already caused enough damage there.
b) they want to exploit it for their own purposes.
c) they fear that oil companies might cause future damage.
· The policy of the “club of 14” towards conservation in Antarctica is
a) to sign a formal agreement on the matter.
b) to promise not to have an oil spill.
c) to work in harmony with the conservationists.
· Antarctica’s wildlife is at risk because
a) it is so cold and dark there.
b) there are so few species.
c) krill is its only source of food
· Wildlife in Antarctica
a) is composed of many different kinds of animals.
b) is small in number but large in variety.
c) is large in number but small in variety
· Dr Heywood
a) wants an international agreement to exploit Antarctica.
b) wants Antarctica designated as a wilderness area.
c) accepts oil exploration only if there are controls to protect the environment.

3. What do the following words refer to?
they (9)………………………………………… it (10)……………………………………………
there (11)………………………………………. these (14)……………………………………….
this (15)………………………………………… its (16)…………………………………………..
they (18)……………………………………….. it (24)…………………………………………….
which (25)……………………………………… its (26)……………………………………………
it (33)…………………………………………… it (35)……………………………………………


4. Translate the following linking words as they are used in the text. State the function of each linking word,
e.g., to add information, to contrast, concession, result, reason etc.
· although (11)…………………………………………………………………
· despite (17)…………………………………………………………………..
· as well as (20)……………………………………………………………….
· because (24)………………………………………………………………….
· because of (25)………………………………………………………………
· however (35)…………………………………………………………………

4(a) In paragraph 3, choose an appropriate linking word to join the ideas expressed between 30
sentences 1 and 2 …………………………. sentences 2 and 3……………………
sentences 3 and 4………………………….. sentences 4 and 5……………………
sentences 5 and 6………………………….. sentences 6 and 7...............


5. CLOZE ….fill each of the numbered spaces with an appropriate word taken from the box.

torture relate dictator the abuses after not court
charges extradition ruled detractors request under


Britain’s highest _______________(1) has ruled that former Chilean ______________(2) General
Augusto Pinochet is ____________(3) entitled to blanket immunity from prosecution for human rights
______________(4). By a 6 – 1 vote, a House of Lords tribunal _______________(5) that Pinochet can be
prosecuted for three of the 32 ________________(6) contained in a Spanish arrest warrant seeking his
_________________(7) from the U.K. These three charges ______________(8) to alleged torture and
conspiracy to torture committed _____________(9) 1988, when Britain signed an international
_____________(10) convention which made it a crime ______________(11) British law to commit
torture anywhere. The Law Lords recommended that the British Government reconsider whether to
proceed with the extradition _______________(12) in light of ______________(13) diminished charges.
Pinochet supporters and _________________(14) both claimed the ruling was a victory.

Earth try of and
The for than save

Conservationists have launched a campaign to _________________(1) Antarctica, the last
unspoilt wilderness on _________________(2), from the potentially disastrous effects of drilling
________________(3) oil. An international alliance of more ______________(4) 30 groups in Britain,
the United States, Australia ________________(5) New Zealand, including Friends of ____________(6)
Earth and Greenpeace, plan a campaign ______________(7) publicity, political lobbying and demonstrations
to _________________(8) to stop any exploitation of the continent.




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CONSERVATION IN ANTARCTICA

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