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  Why zoos are good


  Scientist David Hone makes the case for zoos

  科学家David Hone详述动物园的优点

  A In my view, it is perfectly possible for many species of animals living in zoos or wildlife parks to have a quality of life as high as, or higher than, in the wild. Animals in good zoos get a varied and high-quality diet with all the supplements required, and any illnesses they might have will be treated. Their movement might be somewhat restricted, but they have a safe environment in which to live, and they are spared bullying and social ostracism by others of their kind. They do not suffer from the threat or stress of predators, or the irritation and pain of parasites or injuries. The average captive animal will have a greater life expectancy compared with its wild counterpart, and will not die of drought, of starvation or in the jaws of a predator. A lot of very nasty things happen to truly ‘wild’ animals that simply don’t happen in good zoos, and to view a life that is ‘free’ as one that is automatically ‘good’ is, I think, an error. Furthermore, zoos serve several key purposes.

  A 在我看来,那些生活在动物园或野生动物园中的物种,其生活质量很可能和生活在野外的物种一样高或者更高。动物园中的动物有多样化、高质量的饮食,可以获得所有需要的补充品,并且它们的各种疾病也能够得到治疗。它们的活动会受到一定程度的限制,但它们有安全的生存环境,更少受到物种中其他个体的攻击和排斥。它们不需要承受来自捕食者的威胁和压力,也没有寄生虫或伤病带来的剌激和痛苦。一般圈养动物会比野生动物有更长的寿命,并且不会死于干旱、饥饿或是捕食者。真正“野生”的动物会面临一些非常危险的情况,而管理得当的动物园中不会有这些风险,而且我认为将“自由的”生活视为自然而然就可以“运转良好”是一种错误的观念。此外,动物园有几个核心的目的。

  B Firstly, zoos aid conservation. Colossal numbers of species are becoming extinct across the world, and many more are increasingly threatened and therefore risk extinction. Moreover, some of these collapses have been sudden, dramatic and unexpected, or were simply discovered very late in the day. A species protected in captivity can be bred up to provide a reservoir population against a population crash or extinction in the wild. A good number of species only exist in captivity, with many of these living in zoos. Still more only exist in the wild because they have been reintroduced from zoos, or have wild populations that have been boosted by captive bred animals. Without these efforts there would be fewer species alive today. Although reintroduction successes are few and far between, the numbers are increasing, and the very fact that species have been saved or reintroduced as a result of captive breeding proves the value of such initiatives.

  B 首先,动物园有利于保护动物。世界上有大量物种正在灭绝,而且有更多的物种正经受着越来越严重的威胁并因此濒临灭绝。此外,有一些灭绝是突发的、快速的、出人意料的,或只是在很晚时才被发现。通过圈养被保护的物种可以被养育以提供储备种群,从而避免野外的物种灭绝。很多物种只在圈养状况下生存,它们中的很多生活在动物园中。依然有很多物种只在野外生存,这是因为它们从动物园被放归,或者通过圈养长大的动物繁育了更多数量的野生动物。如果没有这些努力,如今存在的物种数量会少得多。尽管动物放归的成功案例并不多见,但数量依然在增加,并且物种通过圈养哺育被挽救或放归野外这一事实也证明了这种措施的价值。

  C Zoos also provide education. Many children and adults, especially those in cities, will never see a wild animal beyond a fox or pigeon. While it is true that television documentaries are becoming ever more detailed and impressive, and many natural history specimens are on display in museums, there really is nothing to compare with seeing a living creature in the flesh, hearing it, smelling it, watching what it does and having the time to absorb details. That alone will bring a greater understanding and perspective to many, and hopefully give them a greater appreciation for wildlife, conservation efforts and how they can contribute.

  C 动物园同样对教育有益。很多儿童和成年人,尤其是那些住在城市中的人,除了狐狸和鸽子不会看到任何一种野生动物。尽管电视纪录片正变得越来越细致和吸引人,很多自然历史标本也在博物馆中展览,但事实上没有什么能与亲身观察生物、倾听它们、感受它们、观察它们在做什么以及花时间了解更多细节相比。单单这样就可以让人们对很多生物有更深入的理解,并且有望让他们更好地理解野生动物、保护措施以及他们自身能够做的贡献。

  D In addition to this, there is also the education that can take place in zoos through signs, talks and presentations which directly communicate information to visitors about the animals they are seeing and their place in the world. This was an area where zoos used to be lacking, but they are now increasingly sophisticated in their communication and outreach work. Many zoos also work directly to educate conservation workers in other countries, or send their animal keepers abroad to contribute their knowledge and skills to those working in zoos and reserves, thereby helping to improve conditions and reintroductions all over the world.

  D 除此之外,通过标识、对话和演说,同样可以在动物园中对人们进行教育,这些方式都可以直接向参观者们传达有关他们正在观察的动物及其所在地的信息。这方面是动物园曾经做得不足的地方,但是他们如今在交流和推广工作上做得越来越精细。很多动物园同样直接为其他国家的动物保护人员提供教育,或者将他们的动物饲养员派往国外,用他们的知识和技能帮助那些在动物园和自然保护区工作的人,从而有助于改善全世界的环境和动物放归。

  E Zoos also play a key role in research. If we are to save wild species and restore and repair ecosystems we need to know about how key species live, act and react. Being able to undertake research on animals in zoos where there is less risk and fewer variables means real changes can be effected on wild populations. Finding out about, for example, the oestrus cycle of an animal or its breeding rate helps us manage wild populations. Procedures such as capturing and moving at-risk or dangerous individuals are bolstered by knowledge gained in zoos about doses for anaesthetics, and by experience in handling arid transporting animals. This can make a real difference to conservation efforts and to the reduction of human-animal conflicts, and can provide a knowledge base for helping with the increasing threats of habitat destruction and other problems.

  E 动物园同样在研究中扮演关键角色。如果我们要保护野生物种并且恢复和修复生态系统,我们就需要了解主要的物种如何生存、活动以及交流。能够在动物园这种更少风险、更少变量的状态下对动物进行研究,意味着可以对野生种群的变化真正起到作用。例如,查明动物的发情期或繁殖率有助于我们管理野生种群。像找到并且转移处于风险中或有危险的动物这样的措施,就是得到了从动物园中获得的有关麻醉剂量的知识,以及帮助和转移动物的经验的支持。这可以让保护行为和减少人与动物的冲突变得截然不同,并且建立一个知识库,以帮助解决越来越多的栖息地破坏以及其他方面的问题。


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