Hunting to Fix the Environment


Can hunting improve the environment for people and animals? Spotlight looks at the issue of conservation hunting.

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Transcript


Voice 1  

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Adam Navis.

Voice 2  

And I’m Megan Nollet. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1  

It is night in Australia. A cool wind blows through the grasses. Several Kangaroos jump from behind a group of trees. These animals stand on their large back feet. They stand as tall as an adult human. They jump from place to place.

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Suddenly from far off comes the sound of a car. The lights of the car shine on the kangaroos. They stop moving. There are several loud noises. Two kangaroos fall, and the rest jump away. Blood covers the ground. A group of men leave the car. They pull the animals back to their vehicle. There, they cut the kangaroos into pieces. These men are not hunting these animals for the meat. But they are not hunting for sport either. Instead, they are hunting to help the environment!

Voice 1  

Today’s Spotlight is on hunting and the environment. Many people hunt for sport. And hunting can be a tool for keeping animal populations under control. But sometimes too much hunting can lead to terrible results. Today, we tell two stories of how hunting can affect animal populations and the environment.

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Kangaroos are very interesting animals. They only live in Australia. Many Australians love kangaroos because of this. People in other countries even think Kangaroos are a symbol of Australia.

Voice 1  

But Kangaroos are a big problem in some places. As people come to Australia, they develop the land. Sometimes they cut down forests. Sometimes they plant grass where there was no grass before. Kangaroos live in open land. And they eat grasses. So kangaroos gain food and space. Their population grows. Today, there are many, many kangaroos. Some people think there are more than there have ever been. In 2017, there were 50 million kangaroos in Australia! In 2010 there was about half that number.

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Now, the number of kangaroos in Australia is causing problems. The environment cannot support them all. They often overgraze, eating all of the grass in an area. This causes a lot of damage to the environment. And Kangaroos will move to other areas when there is no grass left. Many move to cities. There, they cause trouble for many people. Longreach is a town in north-eastern Australia. Kangaroos moved into the grounds of a primary school there. Then, they would not leave! Bill Ringrose was the president of the school district. He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

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“It is very difficult for us to remove them each morning. It has got to the point where kangaroos will resist. It has become a dangerous situation. Also, they are moving around during school hours. We are frightened that the children will be attacked or pushed over.”

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The Australian Government has approved kangaroo hunting because of these incidents. They hope that this will control the kangaroo population. Fewer kangaroos mean that they will graze less. The environment will improve. And life for the Kangaroos should improve too.

Voice 2  

This kind of hunting is called conservation hunting. It can be used to improve lives for people and animals. It can even improve the environment. Many governments approve of this kind of animal hunting. In the United Kingdom, people hunt badgers. In the United States, deer hunting is common. Some countries hunt and kill larger predators, like tigers or bears.

Voice 1  

Hunting can help when there are too many animals. But hunting also causes problems. In the United States, there is an area called the Yellowstone National park. Many large, plant-eating animals live there. One of these is an animal called an elk. Elk have hooves and very large horns. Many wolves also live in Yellowstone. These wild dogs hunt elk. They keep the elk population low.

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But wolves frighten many people. They are dangerous creatures. They sometimes kill larger animals. People in the United States hunted wolves for a very long time. In the 1930s, hunters even killed every wolf in Yellowstone. They thought they were protecting themselves and their property.

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But many unexpected things happened when the wolves died. The elk population grew quickly. Plants and other animals died off. Some animals, like beavers, even changed the way they acted. Beavers are small furry animals. They make their homes in the water out of mud and fallen trees. These homes are called dams. Beaver dams can change the flow of rivers. Some dams even stop rivers, turning them into lakes. This creates places for other creatures to live, like frogs and fish.

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But beavers need trees to create dams. In Yellowstone, beavers use a tree called the willow. Elk also eat willow trees. And when the wolves died, the elk destroyed many willows. Then, the beaver could not make dams. This changed Yellowstone. The water left swamps and wetlands. Animals moved to different places. Even the rivers changed.

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In the 1990s, scientists brought wolves back to Yellowstone. They hoped to return the environment to what it was before. And in some areas this worked. The wolves grew in number. The elk population dropped. Many areas that changed grew back. But in some places the environment had changed too much. No one could fix or restore it. Tom Hobbes is a professor of ecology at the University of Colorado. He told the newspaper USA Today,

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“You put the wolves back, that’s great. But Yellowstone has changed so much over the years. Putting the wolves back is not enough to restore the environment. There is not a quick fix for mistakes like this.”

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Yellowstone shows how complex nature is. If humans change one part, other parts will also change. These changes are often permanent. And in many cases there is no way of completely restoring the environment. Hunting can help make things better. But it is not a solution.

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This is why hunting is such a difficult subject. The natural world is very complex. And hunting can be both positive and negative too. It can be a good tool for conservation. But, this tool does not fix the problem. It only helps.

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What do you think about hunting? Do you hunt animals? How do you think hunting helps or hurts the environment? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/spotlightradio.

Voice 1  

The writer of this program was Dan Christmann. The producer was Michio Ozaki. The voices you heard were from the United States and New Zealand. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called “Hunting to Fix the Environment.”

Voice 2  

Visit our website to download our free official app for Android and Apple devices. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Do you hunt animals? Do you think hunting helps of hurts the environment?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
Honneur
said on August 26, 2019

I do not like to hunt! I only accept killing an animal in self-defense and it is very difficult for me because I will not dispute the same space with them. In my youth, I used to fish a lot in the Brazilian rivers and found some wild animals, but I never killed them and they never molested me. With a single scream, they run away. Snakes are different: they attack silently and without expectation. They are very dangerous, but they should not be killed, just avoided ...

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on September 07, 2019

From .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To spotlight program
Subject to answer the questions below
Date Saturday 07, September 2019
São Paulo city SP Brazil

Dear Adam navis, Megan Nollet, Dan Christmann, and Michio Ozaki

Thank you for producing more one great article for us Brazilian people and other people around the World.
Question 1 - Do you hunt animals?
Answer 1 - No, I do not.
Question 2 - Do you think hunting helps of hurts the environment?
Answer 2 - Yes, I do. The environment like jungle, forest, and bush belong to the animals.  Into that places is the animals’ home.  Humans should not hurt them.
My commentary: I love kangaroos and I think them interesting animals. I would like that here in my country Brazil would had a lot of kangaroos into Amazon jungle.
Your regards,
God Bless you
Severino Ramos