A DAY FOR RHINOS
(P1) Meet Nola, a 41-year-old northern white rhino that lives at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California. She is one of only four remaining northern white rhinos in the world, and the only one in the WESTERN HEMISPHERE. The other three live in a SANCTUARY in Kenya. World Rhino Day, held on September 22, is dedicated to raising awareness of Nola and the less than 30,000 other rhinos left on Earth.
(P2) “Rhinos need our help today, not tomorrow,” Nola’s lead keeper Jane Kennedy said. “Last year we lost over 1,200 rhinos just in South Africa. If we continue to lose more than 1,000 rhinos a year, in 10 to 20 years all rhinos on the planet will be gone.”
(P4) “Unfortunately, most animals are endangered because of human ENCROACHMENT,” Kennedy says. “Humans have either POACHED animals, or because there are over seven billion of us, we’ve taken up too much of the world’s resources.”
(P5) Poachers illegally hunt rhinos for their horns. They sell the horns for thousands of dollars per pound, to be used for art, jewelry, and decorations. Rhino horns are also prized as a key ingredient in traditional medicines, even though scientific tests have proven that the horns cannot cure illnesses. Experts estimate that one rhino is poached every eight hours.
(P6) Scientists are trying to find ways to prevent rhinos from becoming EXTINCT. In 1975, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research started the Frozen Zoo, a program through which researchers have collected cell samples from more than 8,000 different animal species, including the northern white rhino. Scientists hope that by studying the rhino cells, they will gain greater understanding of the species, and will find ways to increase its numbers.
(P7) Jeanne Loring, director of the Center for REGENERATIVE MEDICINE at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California, works with the Frozen Zoo. Loring’s research focuses on pluripotent STEM CELLS, which are cells capable of renewing and becoming any cell type. The Loring lab at TSRI is partnering with scientist Oliver Ryder of the San Diego Zoo to use pluripotent stem cells to repopulate the northern white rhino. Loring says that the goal is to start generating new rhinos through this method “over the next couple of years.”
(P8) Jane Kennedy describes World Rhino Day as “a celebration of rhinos along with an awareness campaign for everybody across the world to know that rhinos are endangered and need our help.” At the San Diego Zoo, children and adults are welcome to visit and speak with zookeepers to learn about rhinos.
(P9) But you don’t have to live in San Diego to celebrate World Rhino Day. It is observed around the world, with zoos and wildlife parks holding special events and programs to teach people about rhinos, enable them to see the animals up close, and inform them about the threats to the species’ survival.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Have you ever seen a live rhinoceros at a zoo or wildlife park?
- Rhinoceri remind many people of DINOSAURS. Why is that?
- Are forms of traditional medicine commonly practiced in your country?
- Do you think that research into animal medicine and reproduction will enable us to save many endangered species?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Endangered species