Build up Your Vocabulary for IELTS Through Reading

Closing in for the Kill

After a decade of quiet, ivory poaching has started again in Kenya.

Heaped together, tail to trunk, ten dead elephants were stinking in the Kenyan sun. Their last panicked huddle made them a convenient target. The poachers who killed them, though, had no such instinct. They left behind five dead men, scattered along a 150km trail. The rest, including at least one who was badly wounded, limped hack to Somalia, to report on the latest skirmish of the ivory war.

This slaughter of man and beast, in Tsavo Hast National Park last month, was Kenya’s bloodiest poaching incident since 1987. But there could soon he worse. After a decade of mostly negligible poaching, large numbers of elephants are again being killed in the country. The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) found 57 killed for their ivory last year, and 18 in the past month alone. Six black rhinos have also been taken in recent months—the first for over a decade. And these finds, the KWS admits, may represent less than 15% of the total.

The international ivory trade has been illegal since 1989. Initially, that ban caused a market collapse. Now, the markets are recovering. The penchant of European tourists in Asia for ivory earrings is helping to fuel demand. According to a recent report by Save the Elephants, a Kenya- based research organization and lobby group, up to 80% of Asian elephant populations have been poached in the past 14 years in order to carve such knick-knacks. Africa’s herds are making up the shortfall. On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks. There, ivory prices have reached a 13-year high.

Such rising demand is one reason why poaching is picking up. Another is an expectation that the trade ban may be lifted, at least partly, at a meeting in November of the Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs such matters.

Kenya’s, elephant population is still in a precarious state. The country’s herds were cut from 167,000 in 1973 to 16,000 in 1989, and have recovered only a little since then. Those in Bot­swana, Namibia and South Africa, however, are booming. These countries, along with Zimba­bwe, whose elephant herd is in a more questionable condition, are lobbying to start trading in elephant products (mainly ivory, but also skins and meat) once again.

They are not asking for the ban to be lifted completely. Countries that wanted to keep their herds uncurled could continue to shelter under the protection that CITES offer: it would still be illegal to trade in elephant products front such countries in any place that had signed the con­vention. Kenya nevertheless opposes the southern Africans. The Kenyans do not have surplus elephants to trade, and they want to keep those they do have to encourage tourism. The gov­ernments view – shared less vociferously by Tanzania – is that even a minimal legal mule would encourage a massive illegal trade.

That belief is supported by anecdotal evidence, but it is difficult to prove. The failure of CITES to set up a proposed database known as MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of ele­phants) leaves the matter open to debate. MIKE was supposed to include biennial surveys of all elephant populations and the routine collection of information such as number of inhabitants killed illegally in particular places. Softer information, such as estimates of the effect of civil strife, and the involvement of local people in conservation, was also supposed to be assessed.

It was, however, the Kenyans themselves who criticized MIKE for being too expensive, and the whole project is in danger of running into the sand. Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading. Kenya, to put it charitably, has doubts about that.

Whether a partial resumption of trade would finally do for Kenya’s elephants remains to be seen. It may not be put to the test, for it is by no means certain that the southern African view­ point will prevail at CITES. But the difficulty of bucking the market, whether legal or illegal, is well demonstrated by that pile of elephant corpses, and trail of human ones, in Tsavo. The KYVS is famous for taking few prisoners. If even death is nor a sufficient discouragement to poachers, it is difficult to see what else would be.

Words and Expressions for IELTS Speaking & Writing

  1. close in (v): to move nearer to somebody or something, especially in order to attack them ⇒ “Closing in for the Kill”
  2. ivory (n): a yellowish-white color ⇒ “After a decade of quiet, ivory poaching has started again in Kenya.”
  3. poach (v): to cook food, especially fish, gently in a small amount of liquid poached salmon ⇒ “After a decade of quiet, ivory poaching has started again in Kenya.”
  4. heap (v): an untidy pile of something ⇒ “Heaped together, tail to trunk, ten dead elephants were stinking in the Kenyan sun.”
  5. stinking (adj): having a very strong, unpleasant smell ⇒ “Heaped together, tail to trunk, ten dead elephants were stinking in the Kenyan sun.”
  6. panic (v): a sudden feeling of great fear that cannot be controlled and prevents you from thinking clearly ⇒ “Their last panicked huddle made them a convenient target.”
  7. huddle (n): to gather closely together, usually because of cold or fear ⇒ “Their last panicked huddle made them a convenient target.”
  8. convenient (adj): useful, easy or quick to do; not causing problems ⇒ “Their last panicked huddle made them a convenient target.”
  9. instinct (n): a natural tendency for people and animals to behave in a particular way using the knowledge and abilities that they were born with rather than thought or training ⇒ “The poachers who killed them, though, had no such instinct.”
  10. scatter (v): to throw or drop things in different directions so that they cover an area of ground ⇒ “They left behind five dead men, scattered along a 150km trail.”
  11. trail (n): a long line or series of marks that is left by somebody or something ⇒ “They left behind five dead men, scattered along a 150km trail.”
  12. limp (v): lacking strength or energy ⇒ “The rest, including at least one who was badly wounded, limped hack to Somalia, to report on the latest skirmish of the ivory war.”
  13. Somalia (n): people who live in Africa ⇒ “The rest, including at least one who was badly wounded, limped hack to Somalia, to report on the latest skirmish of the ivory war.”
  14. skirmish (n): a short fight between small groups of soldiers,… especially one that is not planned ⇒ “The rest, including at least one who was badly wounded, limped hack to Somalia, to report on the latest skirmish of the ivory war.”
  15. slaughter (n): the cruel killing of large numbers of people at one time, especially in a war ⇒ “This slaughter of man and beast, in Tsavo Hast National Park last month, was Kenya’s bloodiest poaching incident since 1987.”
  16. bloody (adj): a swear word that many people find offensive that is used to emphasize a comment or an angry statement ⇒ “This slaughter of man and beast, in Tsavo Hast National Park last month, was Kenya’s bloodiest poaching incident since 1987.”
  17. negligible (adj): of very little importance or size and not worth considering ⇒ “After a decade of mostly negligible poaching, large numbers of elephants are again being killed in the country.”
  18. rhino (n): a large heavy animal with very thick skin and either one or two horns on its nose, that lives in Africa and Asia ⇒ “Six black rhinos have also been taken in recent months—the first for over a decade.”
  19. represent (v): to be a member of a group of people and act or speak on their behalf at an event, a meeting,… ⇒ “And these finds, the KWS admits, may represent less than 15% of the total.”
  20. initially (adv): at the beginning ⇒ “The international ivory trade has been illegal since 1989. Initially, that ban caused a market collapse.”
  21. ban (v): prohibit something or someone ⇒ “The international ivory trade has been illegal since 1989. Initially, that ban caused a market collapse.”
  22. collapse (v): to fall down or fall in suddenly, often after breaking apart ⇒ “The international ivory trade has been illegal since 1989. Initially, that ban caused a market collapse.”
  23. penchant (n): a special liking for something ⇒ “The penchant of European tourists in Asia for ivory earrings is helping to fuel demand.”
  24. fuel (n): a thing that is said or done that makes something, especially an argument, continue or get worse ⇒ “The penchant of European tourists in Asia for ivory earrings is helping to fuel demand.”
  25. lobby (n): a large area inside the entrance of a public building where people can meet and wait ⇒ “According to a recent report by Save the Elephants, a Kenya- based research organization and lobby group, up to 80% of Asian elephant populations have been poached in the past 14 years in order to carve such knick-knacks.”
  26. knick – knack (n): a small decorative object in a house ⇒ “According to a recent report by Save the Elephants, a Kenya- based research organization and lobby group, up to 80% of Asian elephant populations have been poached in the past 14 years in order to carve such knick-knacks.”
  27. make up (v): to put powder, lipstick,… on your or somebody’s face to make it more attractive or to prepare for an appearance in the theatre, on television,… ⇒ “Africa’s herds are making up the shortfall.”
  28. shortfall (n): if there is a shortfall in something, there is less of it than you need or expect ⇒ “Africa’s herds are making up the shortfall.”
  29. ferry (v): to deliver products ⇒ “On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks.”
  30. caravan (n): a road vehicle without an engine that is pulled by a car, designed for people to live and sleep in, especially when they are on holiday or vacation ⇒ “On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks.”
  31. route (n): a way that you follow to get from one place to another ⇒ “On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks.”
  32. Khartoum (n): name of a person ⇒ “On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks.”
  33. souk (n): a market in an Arab country ⇒ “On camel-hack and hare shoulders, tusks are being ferried along ancient caravan routes from central Africa to Khartoum’s souks.”
  34. pick up (v): to get better, stronger,… to improve ⇒ “Such rising demand is one reason why poaching is picking up. Another is an expectation that the trade ban may be lifted, at least partly, at a meeting in November of the Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs such matters.”
  35. lift the ban (v): take something out of being prohibited ⇒ “Such rising demand is one reason why poaching is picking up. Another is an expectation that the trade ban may be lifted, at least partly, at a meeting in November of the Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs such matters.”
  36. endangered (adj): being in danger from killing ⇒ “Such rising demand is one reason why poaching is picking up. Another is an expectation that the trade ban may be lifted, at least partly, at a meeting in November of the Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs such matters.”
  37. species (n): a group into which animals, plants,… that are able to breed with each other and produce healthy young are divided, smaller than a genus and identified by a Latin name ⇒ “Such rising demand is one reason why poaching is picking up. Another is an expectation that the trade ban may be lifted, at least partly, at a meeting in November of the Convention on Inter­national Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which governs such matters.”
  38. precarious (adj): not safe or certain or dangerous ⇒ “Kenya’s, elephant population is still in a precarious state.”
  39. Botswana (n): name of a place ⇒ “Those in Bot­swana, Namibia and South Africa, however, are booming.”
  40. Namibia (n): name of a place ⇒ “Those in Bot­swana, Namibia and South Africa, however, are booming.”
  41. boom (v): sudden exploit ⇒ “Those in Bot­swana, Namibia and South Africa, however, are booming.”
  42. Zimbabwe (n): name of a city ⇒ “These countries, along with Zimba­bwe, whose elephant herd is in a more questionable condition, are lobbying to start trading in elephant products (mainly ivory, but also skins and meat) once again.”
  43. questionable (adj): something that you have doubts about because you think it is not accurate or correct ⇒ “These countries, along with Zimba­bwe, whose elephant herd is in a more questionable condition, are lobbying to start trading in elephant products (mainly ivory, but also skins and meat) once again.”
  44. uncurled (adj): to become straight, or to make something become straight, after being in a curled position ⇒ “Countries that wanted to keep their herds uncurled could continue to shelter under the protection that CITES offer: it would still be illegal to trade in elephant products front such countries in any place that had signed the con­vention.”
  45. shelter (n): the fact of having a place to live or stay, considered as a basic human need ⇒ “Countries that wanted to keep their herds uncurled could continue to shelter under the protection that CITES offer: it would still be illegal to trade in elephant products front such countries in any place that had signed the con­vention.”
  46. convention (n): the way in which something is done that most people in a society expect and consider to be polite or the right way to do it ⇒ “Countries that wanted to keep their herds uncurled could continue to shelter under the protection that CITES offer: it would still be illegal to trade in elephant products front such countries in any place that had signed the con­vention.”
  47. nevertheless (adv): despite something that you have just mentioned ⇒ “Kenya nevertheless opposes the southern Africans.”
  48. surplus (adj): an amount that is extra or more than you need ⇒ “The Kenyans do not have surplus elephants to trade, and they want to keep those they do have to encourage tourism.”
  49. vociferous (adj): expressing your opinions or feelings in a loud and confident way ⇒ “The gov­ernments view – shared less vociferously by Tanzania – is that even a minimal legal mule would encourage a massive illegal trade.”
  50. Tanrania (n): name of a place ⇒ “The gov­ernments view – shared less vociferously by Tanzania – is that even a minimal legal mule would encourage a massive illegal trade.”
  51. minimal (adj): very small in size or amount; as small as possible ⇒ “The gov­ernments view – shared less vociferously by Tanzania – is that even a minimal legal mule would encourage a massive illegal trade.”
  52. set up (v): to provide somebody with the money that they need in order to do something ⇒ “The failure of CITES to set up a proposed database known as MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of ele­phants) leaves the matter open to debate.”
  53. database (n): an organized set of data that is stored in a computer and can be looked at and used in various ways ⇒ “The failure of CITES to set up a proposed database known as MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of ele­phants) leaves the matter open to debate.”
  54. .. open to debate (v): to start an discussion ⇒ “The failure of CITES to set up a proposed database known as MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of ele­phants) leaves the matter open to debate.”
  55. biennial (adj): happening once every two years ⇒ “MIKE was supposed to include biennial surveys of all elephant populations and the routine collection of information such as number of inhabitants killed illegally in particular places.”
  56. routine (n): the normal order and way in which you regularly do things ⇒ “MIKE was supposed to include biennial surveys of all elephant populations and the routine collection of information such as number of inhabitants killed illegally in particular places.”
  57. estimate (n): a judgement that you make without having the exact details or figures about the size, amount, cost,… of something ⇒ “Softer information, such as estimates of the effect of civil strife, and the involvement of local people in conservation, was also supposed to be assessed.”
  58. strife (n): angry or violent disagreement between two people or groups of people ⇒ “Softer information, such as estimates of the effect of civil strife, and the involvement of local people in conservation, was also supposed to be assessed.”
  59. conservation (n): the protection of the natural environment ⇒ “Softer information, such as estimates of the effect of civil strife, and the involvement of local people in conservation, was also supposed to be assessed.”
  60. assess (v): to make a judgement about the nature or quality of somebody or something ⇒ “Softer information, such as estimates of the effect of civil strife, and the involvement of local people in conservation, was also supposed to be assessed.”
  61. in danger of: being endangered ⇒ “It was, however, the Kenyans themselves who criticized MIKE for being too expensive, and the whole project is in danger of running into the sand.”
  62. into the sand (v): being struggled with something ⇒ “It was, however, the Kenyans themselves who criticized MIKE for being too expensive, and the whole project is in danger of running into the sand.”
  63. meanwhile (adv): in the period of time between two times or two events ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  64. brand (v): type of a company ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  65. spot (adj): being in a small round area that has a different color or feels different from the surface it is on ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  66. genetic (adj): connected with genes (= the units in the cells of a living thing that control its physical characteristics) or genetics (= the study of genes) ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  67. distinguishable (adj): something or somebody that can be recognized as different from somebody or something else ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  68. detect (v): to discover or notice something, especially something that is not easy to see, hear,… ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  69. root out (v): to find the person or thing that is causing a problem and remove or get rid of them ⇒ “Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, meanwhile, argue that branding and spot genetic testing (the DNA of southern African elephants is distinguishable from that of East African ones) will be enough to detect and root out illegal trading.”
  70. to put it charitably: to do something charitably ⇒ “Kenya, to put it charitably, has doubts about that.”
  71. partial (adj): not complete or whole ⇒ “Whether a partial resumption of trade would finally do for Kenya’s elephants remains to be seen.”
  72. resumption (n): the act of beginning something again after it has stopped ⇒ “Whether a partial resumption of trade would finally do for Kenya’s elephants remains to be seen.”
  73. do for somebody (v): do something that is good for others ⇒ “Whether a partial resumption of trade would finally do for Kenya’s elephants remains to be seen.”
  74. put to the test (v): put something in a test for someone ⇒ “It may not be put to the test, for it is by no means certain that the southern African view­ point will prevail at CITES.”
  75. by no means: without meanings ⇒ “It may not be put to the test, for it is by no means certain that the southern African view­ point will prevail at CITES.”
  76. prevail (v): to exist or be very common at a particular time or in a particular place ⇒ “It may not be put to the test, for it is by no means certain that the southern African view­ point will prevail at CITES.”
  77. buck (v): a US, Australian or New Zealand dollar; a South African rand; an Indian rupee ⇒ “But the difficulty of bucking the market, whether legal or illegal, is well demonstrated by that pile of elephant corpses, and trail of human ones, in Tsavo.”
  78. corpse (v): to be a dead body, especially of a human ⇒ “But the difficulty of bucking the market, whether legal or illegal, is well demonstrated by that pile of elephant corpses, and trail of human ones, in Tsavo.”

Exercises

Fill in each blank with the appropriate word, making changes where necessary

skirmish, panic, represent, initially, negligible, collapse, fuel, endangered, trail, precarious, instinct

  1. The crowd …………….. at the sound of the explosion.
  2. Don’t ask me; follow your …………….. and do what you think is right.
  3. The hunters followed the tiger’s ……………..
  4. They have a …………… with a small group of the enemy.
  5. The damage to my car is …………….
  6. She …………… her fellow-workers at the union meeting.
  7. ………………, she opposed the plan, but later she changed her mind.
  8. The bridge ………………. under the weight of the train.
  9. The car is being ………………. in preparation for the race.
  10. We ought to be doing our best to save ……………… species.
  11. Our financial situation is still ………………..

Build up Your Vocabulary for IELTS Through Reading
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