Category Archives: Marine Animals

While Humans are Sheltered Wild Animals Are Free to Roam

“Goats in Wales; coyotes in San Francisco; rats, rats, everywhere: With much of the world staying home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence of people would keep them away.” S. Garcia, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Goats are seen outside a church in Llandudno, Wales, on March 31, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

 

Even lions are enjoying the peace and quiet, a set of new photos from South Africa’s Kruger National Park shows. CNN

 

Excerpt: When Humans Are Sheltered in Place, Wild Animals Will Play, Sandra E. Garcia, The New York Times

“Under the cover of night, in their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.

On Thursday evening, a herd of Great Orme Kashmiri goats galloped through the desolate streets of the small town looking for food. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.

‘They are very mischievous,‘ Andrew Stuart, a Llandudno resident who spotted the goats, said in an interview. ‘They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.’

Luckily for the goats, there weren’t many humans around.

More than a billion people worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments, socially distancing themselves from one another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 43,000 lives globally, including 2,300 in Britain…But with the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town and hopped right to it. In the video Mr. Stuart recorded, the goats can be seen running down the middle of a street.

‘They were just racing through the town,’said Mr. Stuart, who called a nonemergency police line. ‘They are in town because it is so quiet, because hardly anyone is about.’

There is also hardly anyone outside in San Francisco — except for the coyotes.

A pack of sleeping coyotes in the middle of a usually busy San francisco-Sacremento Bee

A coyote relaxes in front of the Golden Gate Bridge – Mar 25, 2020 The Sacremento Bee

Residents in San Francisco have been under orders to practice social distancing for two weeks, leaving their homes only to buy groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks. The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars, according to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control

A group of dolphins swim in the Mediterranean Sea at the Calanques National Park, off the coast of south-eastern France, on March 19, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior in seeking new food sources, said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association…Ever since Louisiana imposed a lockdown, causing restaurants to shut down, the rats in New Orleans are almost certainly wondering where the usual French Quarter crowds — and their trash — have gone.This moment of desperation for the rodents can become an opportunity for communities trying to control the pest population, since rats are more likely to be lured by traps and baits, Dr. Fredericks said.

A puma walks along a street during dawn in a neighbourhood before being captured and taken to a zoo in Santiago, Chile, on March 24, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

A wild deer roams in a deserted street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in the port city of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, on March 31, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

Dr. Riegel and her team are taking advantage of that…New York City is known for its large population of already brazen rats, including the notorious Pizza Rat. There has not been a change in behavior from pests in the city, according to Katy Hansen, the spokeswoman for the Animal Care Centers of NYC…

Scopoli’s shearwater birds on the Mediterranean Sea at the Calanques National Park, with Marseille in the background, off the coast of south-eastern France, on March 19, 2020.PHOTO- AFP

But there is a possibility that with the absence of people, and their trash, New York rats become even more brazen in their search for food, as a gang of macaques did in Lopburi, Thailand, last month.

A woman watches monkeys as they search for food in front of her shop near Prang Sam Yod temple in Lopburi, Thailand, on March 17, 2020.PHOTO- REUTERS

The macaques are usually fed by tourists who visit the ancient city, but with an 85 percent drop in tourism, the monkeys became more aggressive in their search for food.

Spotted Malabar civet… A critically endangered mammal not seen until 1990 resurfaces for the first time in India during lockdown.

Squirrels roam undisturbed inside Solari Park, emptied due to the coronavirus emergency lockdown, in Milan, Italy, on March 29, 2020.PHOTO- EPA-EFE

Humans can easily forget that the cities and towns they call home and frequently visit are also home to wild animals, like the Great Orme goats.”

 

ADDITIONAL TEACHING SITES FOR STUDENTS

FUN GAMES TO LEARN ENGLISH (For young ESL Learners)

“The aim of this site is to provide a resource for students to practice English in an engaging and fun way. Other similar sites are more geared towards providing teachers with resources to give to their students, but the intention this site is to be a resource that language learners can use independently…The games are aimed at a relatively low level of English, with pretty much all the content being around elementary level. A lot of the vocabulary content would probably even be more introductory or pre-elementary level.” ~Owen Dwyer~

Owen Dwyer’s site for Kids

 

The English Club:

Learn English : ESL Games :”Try these fun vocabulary games for ESL learners to test your understanding of English words. All games have answers available.”

ALSO:

Coronavirus COVID-19 Vocabulary

https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/coronavirus-covid19.php?sb

“This glossary of terms related to coronaviruses and COVID-19 in particular is intended for learners of English though it may be of interest to a wider audience. In times of crisis, knowing and understanding the terminology involved may help alleviate some of the fears and even panic that such times breed.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the title of the post and the actual article.  Examine each of the photos, Describe what you see in the photo? Notice the background.What do you think the animals are wondering?

Next, create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The goats trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.
  2. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.
  3. They are very mischievous.
  4. People worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments.
  5. People are getting a glimpse of what animals do when they are left alone.
  6. The Great Orme goats’ descendants are wild animals that roam and forage in the large park.
  7. The goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town.
  8. People should only go out to get groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks.
  9. In San Francisco, the streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city.
  10. Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior.

Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

Grammar Focus:Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

Additional Prepositions:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_prepositions

Goats in Wales; coyotes___San Francisco… With much___the world staying home___prevent the spread___the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence ___people would keep them away.

Under the cover___night,___their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted ___Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales… The goats live ___Great Orme Country Park,___Conwy, Wales. They were a gift___Queen Victoria.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Group members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  • “They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.”
  • The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars.”
  • “What we are also seeing is that they are looking for food in places they had not before.”
  • “Animals are opportunistic and feed off trash… The restaurants [were] producing a lot of trash, and right now, a lot of that is just gone.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. According to the article what effects do less people in the cities have on the wild life?
  2. Are there any wild animals native to your area? Which ones?
  3. Have you seen more wild animals since people have been sheltered?  Which ones?
  4. In your opinion, do  the animals in the photos seem hostile, friendly or afraid? 
  5. Why would wild animals venture into cities when people are not present?
  6. According to Jim fredericks, what has changed in wild animals since humans have been sheltered?
  7. What are the residents in Louisiana going to do about the rat infestation?
  8. Unlike Louisiana what problem does New York City have with their rats?

 

Group Activity: Research and Writitng

Directions:  With group members Choose several wild animals (goats, coyotes, rats, turkeys etc.) and research the animal. Write a brief report on your animal. Provide information such as where did the animals originate, what is their normal diet, how do they act around people (think about the  monkeys in Thailand)

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Dolphins and Sea Lions: The U.S. Marine Guardians

The United States implemented the  Marine Mammal Program  in 1960 with the purpose of training sea mammals to assist the U.S. Navy primarily with underwater mine detection. The mammals best suited for this job were the bottlenose dolphin and California sea lion. Today the Navy continues to care for and train sea mammals (including Beluga whales) for various  underwater missions.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

A trained bottlenose dolphin named K-Dog leaps out of the water during a training exercise in the Persian Gulf.  Petty Officer 1st Class Bria Aho, US Navy.

A trained bottlenose dolphin named K-Dog leaps out of the water during a training exercise in the Persian Gulf. Petty Officer 1st Class Bria Aho, US Navy.

Excerpt:  Military Dolphins and Sea Lions: What Do They Do and Who Uses Them? Janet J. Lee, National Geographic

“Military-trained marine mammals, including dolphins, can detect underwater mines and intruders.

Russian activities in Crimea now include taking over a Ukrainian military unit made up of bottlenose dolphins, according to news reports.

It’s unclear how the Russian navy intends to use these “combat dolphins,” although state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that the mammals will be getting equipment upgrades.

Zak a 375-pound sea lion being trained by the Navy. Photo- NPR

Zak a 375-pound sea lion being trained by the Navy. Photo- NPR

The U.S. Navy trains its marine mammals—including California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins—to find and retrieve equipment lost at sea and to identify intruders swimming into restricted areas. The dolphins are also used to detect underwater mines, either buried in the seafloor or floating from an anchor.

A beluga whale marks a training target Nat. Geographic

A beluga whale marks a training target Nat. Geographic.

The U.S. Navy uses them to find and retrieve unarmed test ordnance like practice mines. Handlers give a sea lion an attachment system it can hold in its mouth and send the mammal overboard. Once the animal finds its target, it clamps the device to it and handlers in a boat at the surface can bring the object in.” Read more…

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video clip.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions

Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Have students use the pre-reading organizer by TeachEm2Think to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.

Prereading organizerby San Juan Edutiff

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Military-trained marine mammals can detect underwater mines and intruders.
  2. It is reported that mammals will be getting equipment upgrades.
  3. These animals have the ability to to detect and find targets in murky water.
  4. The U.S. Navy trains its marine mammals to find and retrieve equipment lost at sea.
  5. Dolphins can be especially effective close to shore,
  6. Mechanical systems can be overwhelmed by all the competing signals, but not dolphins.
  7. A dolphins’ sonar is finely tuned.
  8. Handlers give a sea lion an attachment system it can hold in its mouth and send the mammal overboard.
  9. The Navy deployed dolphins and sea lions to patrol the area.
  10. Sea lions also have the advantage of being amphibious.

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T.  If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. The ability of these animals to detect and find targets at depth or in murky water is something technology can duplicate.
  2. The Sevastopol-based “combat dolphins” are trained to search for and tag underwater mines.
  3. The U.S. Navy trains its marine mammals—including California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins—to find and retrieve other sea creatures lost at sea.
  4. Sea lions are better than any machine as far as detecting mines.
  5. Researchers now understand how dolphins can detect mines.
  6. Baby sea lions are good at detecting mines  because of their size.
  7. California sea lions, while they don’t possess sonar capabilities, have excellent eyesight.
  8. The navy also train sharks to detect other ships.
  9. Sharks are being considered for future use in the U.S. military.
  10. Both California sea lions and bottlenose dolphins are fairly hardy, smart, and very trainable.

 Grammar Focus

Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I.

  1. Military-trained marine mammals can detect underwater mines and intruders.
  2. Russian activities in Crimea now include taking over a Ukrainian military unit made up of bottlenose dolphins.
  3. It unclear how the Russian navy intends to use these combat dolphins.

II.

  1. The U.S. Navy trains its marine mammals to find and retrieve equipment lost at sea.
  2. The dolphins are also used to detect underwater mines.
  3. Dolphins can be especially effective close to shore.

III.

  1. Dolphins, and relatives like killer whales, send out a series of sounds that bounce off of objects.
  2. California sea lions, while they don’t possess sonar capabilities, has excellent eyesight.
  3. The U.S. Navy uses them to find and retrieve unarmed test ordnance like practice mines.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the following discussion topics.

  1. The article states,It’s unclear how the Russian navy intends to use these “combat dolphins”. Why do you think the Russians refer to their dolphins as “combat dolphins”?  Describe  a task that the Russian dolphins might perform.
  2. In your opinion do you think using sea mammals to help the military is a good idea? Explain why or why not.
  3. What other tasks might dolphins and sea lions be used for?
  4. The sea mammals used thus far in the U.S. Navy have been dolphins, sea lions, and whales. What other sea mammals might be used for these tasks? What about creatures like sharks, eels, or  sea turtles?
  5. What are the functions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Animal Welfare Act (AWA)?

IV. Listening Activity

Video ClipUS Navy Dolphins & Sea Lions to Serve as Marine Guardians
“ A new U.S. Navy Instruction (pdf) updates Navy policy on the use of marine mammals for national security missions. It seems that by law (10 USC 7524), the Secretary of Defense is authorized to “take” (or acquire) up to 25 wild marine mammals each year “for national defense purposes.” These mammals — including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions — are used for military missions such as locating and marking underwater mines, and providing force protection against unauthorized swimmers or vehicles, among other things.”


 

 While Listening Activities

Sentence  Fill-ins

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose from the options presented.

  1. The Navy became interested in dolphins before/after WW II.
  2. Medical/medium care is provided for the animals.
  3. The medical stuff/staff includes a team of veterinarians from the army.
  4. Dolphins also have hearing/herding tests.
  5. This program has contributed the most scientific/science  information about marine mammals than any other organization.
  6. The program helps to definition/define what  marine mammals can and cannot do in support of navy operations.
  7. Dolphins are trained to signal when they find underwater mimes/mines.
  8. Dolphins don’t swim away because they receive fools/food and love.
  9. Navy sea lions are used in the recovery of training/trail mines.
  10.  It takes years to track/train dolphins and sea lions.

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of sea mammals in the Navy changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Discuss which comments or ideas you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with.   Explain why.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers.

 ANSWER KEY: Navy sea mammals