Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Rob: Hello, I'm Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English.

  • With me today is Neil. Hello, Neil.

  • Neil: Hello Rob!

  • Rob: In this programme we're going to be talking

  • about endangered species, particularly elephants in China. So let's start with a question,

  • Neil. Do you know how many elephants are still living in the wild in China? Is it:

  • a) Fewer than 15,000 b) Fewer than 1,000

  • c) Fewer than 300

  • Neil: I don't know but I'm going to have a guess

  • and say b) fewer than 1,000.

  • Rob: I'll let you know if you're right or wrong

  • at the end of the programme.

  • Neil: So Rob, have you ever come across any animal

  • species under threat in your travel?

  • Rob: Yes, I have, I went to Australia a few years

  • ago and saw some turtles on the beach laying their eggs and they're very rare, aren't they?

  • Neil: They are very rare. I've always wanted to

  • see them but I haven't had the chance. I was lucky enough to see a panda when I was in

  • China once and they're threatened with extinction, too, of course.

  • Rob: The sad thing is, Neil, these animals are

  • in danger largely because of the activities of human beings. There are all sorts of reasons

  • why this is happening.

  • Neil: Yes, it's really upsetting. And it could easily

  • be prevented if people thought a bit harder about the impact their lives make on wild

  • animals. Take those sea turtles you were talking about, for instance. They're under threat

  • for all sorts of reasons, over-fishing being one of them.

  • Rob: Then there are various species of rhinoceros

  • which could disappear in a few years' time. Again, people poach these creaturespoach

  • means hunt illegally - because their horns are used for medicinal purposes. And, of course,

  • in country areas, miles from civilisation, it's almost impossible to keep a check on

  • illegal killings.

  • Neil: It really makes you think, doesn't it Rob?

  • Rob: Actually, it's not that simple, Neil. Human

  • beings are also under pressure and often have strong arguments in favour of their actions.

  • This Chinese farmer explains. He uses an expression that means "arrived". Can you tell me what it is?

  • Chinese farmer: There are too many elephants around here.

  • We used to grow sugar cane but then the elephants started showing up and ate it all. So we gave up growing it.

  • There was barely anything we could grow. No matter what we planted there

  • was nothing to harvest ... Now we grow rubber. It's the only thing they won't eat.

  • Neil: He said "showing up". This means the elephants arrived.

  • Rob: And he said they "gave up" growing it. This means they stopped growing it.

  • Neil: The plight of the Asian elephant in China

  • makes a pretty bleak picture, I must say. I understand that they are victims of all sorts of abuse.

  • Rob: Yes, experts say their numbers have declined

  • by 50 per cent in the last 75 years. Poaching is one reason why. They are hunted not for their tusks

  • that happens to the larger African elephantbut for their skins to

  • make leather goods and for their meat.

  • Neil: They are also losing their habitatsthat's the places where they live

  • because of the growth in the number of plantations, particularly

  • rubber, but also other cash crops. These agricultural monocultures, as they are called, spell death

  • for the elephants' lifestyle. Logging or deforestationin which whole forests are destroyed - also adds to their problems.

  • Rob: What's more, in some places, their migratory

  • routes have been cut off by human populations living in newly established villages.

  • In a more general sense, just expanding human population is forcing them out of their natural environments.

  • Neil: There's another very unpleasant way in which

  • these creatures are suffering, Rob. Many of the young elephants are taken away from the

  • herd and are turned into performing circus animals for tourists.

  • Rob: Really, Neil?

  • Neil: Yes, I hear that sometimes nails are driven

  • into their feet, they are deprived of sleep, food and water. This is to make them easy to train.

  • Rob: That's so cruel. But there are people trying

  • to improve the situation, Neil. For example, there's a rehabilitation programmethat's

  • a scheme to bring them back to a normal life - which rescues elephants at risk and give

  • them protection within a special sanctuary. Then there are some people who are trying

  • to get people to get farmers to work in a different way. Let's listen to a forestry

  • policeman. He uses an expression to describe the way people farm the land. Can you tell me what it is?

  • Forestry police representative: It makes me sad. I want people to know that

  • they shouldn't cut down the forest and that there are consequences if they do.

  • I want them to change their farming practices, to change how they make a living. We could become

  • a tourist destination. People could make money from that.

  • Neil: He said "farming practices". This means the way people farm the land.

  • Rob: And he said "make a living". This refers to

  • people earning enough money in order to survive. So, let's hope the elephants still living

  • in the wild in China can be saved. So, would you like the answer to the quiz question now?

  • Neil: Yes, OK. You asked me how many elephants are

  • still living in the wild in China. Was it fewer than 15,000, fewer than 1,000, or fewer

  • than 300? And I guessed 1,000.

  • Rob: I'm afraid the answer is actually fewer than 300.

  • Neil: That's a real cause for concern.

  • Rob: Well, we're almost out of time. So, let's

  • remind ourselves of some of the words we've said today, Neil.

  • Neil: poach, habitats, showing up, gave up, farming practices

  • make a living, rehabilitation programme

  • Rob: Thanks Neil. Well, that's it for today. Until next time. Goodbye!

  • Neil: Goodbye!

Rob: Hello, I'm Rob. Welcome to 6 Minute English.

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

A2 BEG UK rob china living programme neil neil farming

BBC 6 Minute English_April 30, 2015 - Saving China's Elephants

  • 3383 121
    Adam Huang posted on 2015/05/02
Video vocabulary