TOEFL Reading Exam - Sample 1.3

The following article, titled, “Poaching, deforestation reportedly on the rise since COVID-19 lockdowns,” written by Kiley Price, has been taken from Conservation International. Read carefully and answer the questions that follow.

The Conservation International website can be accessed here.

The original article can be accessed here.

Sample Extract

Poaching and deforestation in the tropics have increased since COVID-19 restrictions went into effect around the world, according to recent reports from Conservation International field offices.

A surge in agricultural expansion and illegal mining has accelerated forest loss in Brazil and Colombia, said Conservation International’s CEO, M. Sanjayan, in a recent statement.

At the same time, Conservation International reports from Kenya signal that bushmeat and ivory poaching are on the rise. Although some of this stems from food needs in rural areas, evidence suggests that the commercial trade of illegal wildlife products has also expanded.

According to one expert, the causes are clear.

“In Africa, there has been an alarming increase in bushmeat harvest and wildlife trafficking that is directly linked to COVID-19-related lockdowns, decreased food availability and damaged economies as a result of tourism collapses,” said Matt Lewis, who leads Conservation International’s work on wildlife trafficking issues in Africa.

A decline in travel coupled with strict lockdowns have caused a sharp drop in Africa’s tourism revenue, which helps to sustain wildlife reserves and community conservancies across the continent. Without money to support rangers’ salaries and airplane patrols, nature reserves — and the highly endangered animals they protect, such as elephants and rhinos — are left vulnerable to poachers.

Disease and the destruction of nature
In South America, the Amazon is under renewed siege mere months after fires scorched massive swaths of the world’s largest rainforest. In Brazil, Amazonian deforestation is at a nine-year high, reports show. In neighboring Colombia, fires in the country’s Amazonian region more than doubled in March compared with the same month last year.

Evidence suggests that the majority of these activities were enabled by weakened enforcement efforts that people exploited — some driven by desperation, others by profit.

"Poachers are very good at utilizing loopholes," said Michael O'Brien-Onyeka, Conservation International's senior Vice President for the Africa field division, in a recent interview with Good Morning America. "Add that to the fact that most of the people in outlying communities have lost their livelihood or source of income ... we are seriously concerned and not too surprised to see some increase in incidents of poaching."

Sadly, the destruction of nature — particularly of tropical forests — could actually lead to more frequent disease outbreaks in the future, Sanjayan noted.

“Poaching and deforestation are unfortunate and disturbing, as our health — and the health of our economies — are inextricably linked to the health of our planet. Wildlife trafficking and tropical deforestation created the conditions that enabled COVID-19 to spread to humans in the first place.

“Now, by accelerating the destruction of nature, we are only increasing the risk of future pandemics.”

Looking ahead
To minimize poaching and land degradation in Africa, Conservation International is working with governments to help provide alternative livelihoods for rural communities. Using a community-driven approach, Conservation International’s Herding 4 Health program will work with farmers in high-biodiversity rural areas to help degraded rangelands recover and become more resilient to climate change and natural disasters, while improving cattle health and providing a steady income stream — even during uncertain times.

Over the next five years, Conservation International will expand this work to cover more than 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of rangeland, with the target of eventually reaching more than 25.5 million hectares (about 63 million acres).

“In times of stress, such as a global pandemic or climate change-related disaster, rural communities often turn to nature for their survival," said Lewis. “Sadly, this is often through over-exploitation of resources through poaching, cutting down forests for charcoal and fuelwood, and other damaging activities. Resilient communities are better equipped to handle stress, and both nature and people benefit as a result.”


Sample Questions

Q1. Complete the following sentence:

The article refers to poaching and deforestation. Basically, poaching refers to _________________ while deforestation means to _______________.

A) Wildlife trafficking, forest fire

B) Illegal killing of animals, destroy forests by uncontrolled felling of trees.

C) Land encroachment, destruction of trees

D) None of the above

Q2. According to the passage, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in illegal poaching, illegal mining and deforestation activities. Evaluate and respond with one of the options.

A) True

B) False

C) Cannot say

D) None of the above

Q3. Below are the reasons behind a rise in attacks towards wildlife and forests during the pandemic. Identify the one that is not true.

(i) Increased poverty due to pandemic

(ii) Diminishing food resources as COVID lockdowns hit supplies hard

(iii) Forest fires

(iv) Lack of financial support to conservation rangers due to diminished tourism

A) (i)

B) (ii)

C) (iii)

D) (iv)

Q4. Complete the following sentence:

The passage refers to two different continents where natural environment is under attack. They are _____________________ and ___________________.

A) Brazil, Kenya

B) Africa, South America

C) Colombia, Nigeria

D) None of the above

Q5. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the following sentence?

“In South America, the Amazon is under renewed siege mere months after fires scorched massive swaths of the world’s largest rainforest.”

(i) Several forest fires have depleted huge portions of the Amazon in South America recently.

(ii) The world's largest rainforest, the Amazon is being destroyed due to massive fires.

(iii) The South American rainforests are continually being destroyed by forest fires.

(iv) The Amazon is under threat after recent forest fires destroyed huge areas.

A) (i)

B) (ii)

C) (iii)

D) (iv)

Q6. Referring to the people who are attacking vulnerable forests and endangered animals, the article mentions, “…some driven by desperation, others by profit.” Examine and choose the right option that implies the same meaning for the clause and the phrase.

A) Some people are hurting forests due to desperation, some kill the animals to make extra money

B) Some people damage natural resources due to their traditions, some are habitual offenders

C) A few people doing so due to survival compulsions, and others are grabbing an opportunity for extra income

D) None of the above

Q7. The passage refers to the adverbial phrase, “inextricably linked.” Identify which one is not its meaning among the given options.

A) Infinitely bonded

B) Indissolubly connected

C) Inseparably tied

D) Irrevocably attached

Q8. Read the following sentence and respond by choosing one of the options:

Conservation International’s Herding 4 Health program is a healthcare initiative designed to support communities in far-off places.

A) True

B) False

C) Cannot say

D) None of the above

Q9. According to the passage, what are the instances that prompt rural communities to become adversaries to nature?

A) Widespread diseases such as the COVID pandemic

B) Stressful situations

C) Natural calamities

D) All of the above

Q10. In the passage, Conservation International gives a future outlook of its program. Which one is not the right option among the following:

(i) Expansion of the existing scope of Herding 4 Health program to cover 1.5 million hectares of rangeland

(ii) Targeting to reach 25.5 million hectares of rangeland in five years

(iii) Provide healthcare support to over 1 million people living in communities across this geography

(iv) Building capable and resilient community ecosystems that can fight-back major adversities without being predatory

A) (i)

B) (ii)

C) (iii)

D) (iv)

(Answers on Next Page)

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