126. Directions for Questions 1-5: Read the passage and answer the questions that follow on the basis of the information provided in the passage
A snow leopard roars in the high mountains of Asia. A black rhinoceros gallops across the plains of Africa. A grizzly bear hunts for fish in a North American river. A mother blue whale and her calf glide through the deep waters of the ocean.
All of these animals share the Earth with us. They fascinate us with their beauty, their grace, and their speed. We love observing their behavior, and learning more about their habits. But just loving them is not enough. All of these animals are endangered. Many of them have died, and without special care, they may someday disappear from the Earth.
Why is it important to care for animals like these? One reason is to protect the balance of life on Earth. Another reason is the beauty of the animals themselves. Each species of animal is special. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
Africa was once filled with an abundance of wild animals. But that is changing fast. One of these animals, the black rhinoceros, lives on the plains of Africa. It has very poor eyesight and a very bad temper! Even though the black rhino is powerful, and can be dangerous, its strength can't always help it to escape hunters. Some people think that the rhino's horn has magical powers, and many hunters kill rhinos for their valuable horns. This has caused the black rhino to be placed on the endangered species list.
The elephant seems to represent all that is strong and wild in Africa. It once had no natural enemies, but is now endangered killed for its ivory tusks.
The fastest land animal, the cheetah, also lives in Africa. It, too, is becoming extinct as people take over more and more of the land that is the cheetah's natural habitat.
Imagine Africa without the powerful rhino, the gentle, intelligent elephant, or the lightning quick cheetah. Once they are gone, they are gone forever.
Wherever people are careless about the land, there are endangered species.
Grizzly bears like to wander great distances. Each bear needs up to 1,500 square miles of territory to call its homeland. Today, because forests have been cleared to make room for people, the grizzly's habitat is shrinking and the grizzly is disappearing. It joins other endangered North American animals, such as the red wolf and the American crocodile.
In South America, destruction of the rain forest threatens many animals. Unusual mammals, such as the howler monkey and the three toed sloth, are endangered. Beautiful birds like the great green macaw and the golden parakeet are also becoming extinct. They're losing their homes in the rain forest, and thousands die when they are caught and shipped off to be sold as exotic pets.
The giant panda of Asia is a fascinating and unique animal. Yet there are only about 1,000 still living in the wild. The giant panda's diet consists mainly of the bamboo plant, so when the bamboo forests die, so does the panda. China is now making an effort to protect these special creatures from becoming extinct.
Asia's big cats are also in trouble. The exotic snow leopard lives high in the mountains. Even there, it faces the loss of its natural habitat, and hunters who kill it for its fur. The tiger, the largest of all the big cats, is hunted merely for sport.
Ocean dwelling animals are in danger of extinction as well. The blue whale is the largest animal in the world. It weighs up to 390,000 pounds. Whale hunting and pollution are this species' greatest enemies.
Unfortunately, it is people who cause many of the problems that animals face. We alter and pollute their habitats. We hunt them for skins, tusks, furs, and horns. We destroy animals that get in the way of farming or building. And we remove them from their natural habitats and take them home as pets.
What can you do to help endangered animals? Learn as much as you can about them. The more you know, the more you can help. Make an effort to support zoos and wildlife groups. Many zoos breed endangered animals, helping to ensure that they will continue to live on. Contribute to groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation and the Sierra Club, that work hard to protect animals. You can also be a smart shopper and never buy a pet that has been raised in the wilderness.
The world is made up of many living things, and each thing is dependent on the others to survive. If we allow even one species on Earth to become extinct, it has an impact on other living things and changes our world. When we mention any endangered wild animals, let's hope that we never again have to say, "Gone forever."
Which of the following is NOT an opinion?