AMAZON WILDLIFE NATURE

AMAZON WILDLIFE NATURE

Amazon
The Amazon River is the second longest
river in the world. This river is more than
4,000 miles long. The Amazon Rain
Forest has two seasons, the rainy season
and the dry season. In the dry season,
the Amazon River can be up to 7 miles
wide. During the rainy season, the river
bank fl oods and gets wider. In the rainy
season, the river can be up to 25 miles
wide. Many animals live in the river. Some
of the animals in the river are piranhas,
dwarf caimans, turtles and anacondas.
PIRANHA
The piranha is a small fi sh with very
large
teeth. Piranhas can be grey, blue or even
black. Piranhas can be anywhere from 6
inches up to 12 inches long. Most piranhas
live in warm, fresh water. Piranhas are
omnivores. That means they eat both
plants and animals. They also eat fruits
and berries that fall from the trees above.
Piranhas hunt in large groups called
shoals, or packs. Other piranhas, caimans,
snakes, turtles and birds all eat piranhas.
DWARF CAIMAN
The dwarf caiman is a member of the
crocodile family. Caimans live mostly in
fresh water. Sometimes you cannot see
the caiman when it is in the water. The
caiman’s eyes are above the water but
the rest of its body is under water. They
look like logs fl oating in the water. This
is called camoufl age. This is the way that
caimans make sure their food or prey
does not know they are there. The caiman
has hard scales on its body to protect it
from predators. Caimans eat fi sh, crabs
and shrimp.
ANACONDA
The anaconda is one of the largest
snakes
in the world. This snake can grow up to
30 feet long. It is dark green or brown.
The color helps the anaconda blend into
the area where it lives. This snake lives on
land near the edge of the water. Anacondas
also spend some time in the water. The
eyes and nostrils of an anaconda are on
the top of their head. This is so the snake
can see and breathe when most of its body
is under water.
Anacondas are constrictors. This means
that they wrap around their prey and
squeeze tightly until their prey cannot
breathe. Anacondas are very strong. They
eat large rodents, small mammals, frogs
and fi sh. Snakes grow by molting, or
shedding, their skin. Anacondas are so
big that they have to shed their skin in
pieces. Snakes, like the anaconda, are
cold-blooded, which means that they
cannot control their body temperature.
They bask in the sun on a hot rock to
warm themselves and rest in the water
or damp mud to cool themselves down.
GIANT AMAZON RIVER TURTLE
The giant Amazon River turtle is one
of the largest freshwater turtles in the
world. These turtles are very good
swimmers. Amazon River turtles stay
in the water for most of their lives.
Usually only the female leaves the water.
This is so she can lay her eggs. The giant
Amazon River turtle eats fruits, leaves,
plants and insects. Female turtles of this
species can be up to 200 pounds. Many
animals, like the black vulture, eat baby
Amazon River turtles. The adult giant
Amazon River turtle is so big that it
does not have many predators. Jaguars
and black caimans are the only animals
big enough to eat the giant Amazon
River turtle
The Amazon Rain Forest
Summary
This book offers a lively introduction to the ecology,
history and economy of the Amazon rain forest. It
explains why the rain forest is important for the future of
mankind, and it also highlights the pressures and problems
that rainforests around the world face in today’s global
economy.
Students will all possess some general knowledge about
the Amazon rain forest before they read the book. The
book begins with a multiple-choice quiz to test the
readers’ knowledge and to arouse their curiosity about
the questions they do not know the answers to. All the
answers can be found later in the book.
The Amazon:
This first section describes the course
of the great Amazon River from its source, high in the
Andes, to its exit into the Atlantic Ocean 6,400 kilometers
downstream. Each part of the river is quite distinct – and
the text describes the differences in landscape, vegetation
and weather as well as some of the people that live along
the river at different points.
What is a Rain Forest:
This section describes some of the
plants and animals of the forest and also explains how the
warm, wet weather of the Amazon helps to maintain such
an abundance of life. The world’s rain forests are a rich
resource of food and medicine that is currently not used or
understood to its full potential. The text suggests that we
could lose thousands of life-saving medicines and foods if
the destruction of rain forests continues at its present rate.
Why are Rain Forests Disappearing:
This section talks
about the destruction of the world’s rain forests over the
last 100 years. It also explores why this has happened
and why it may continue to happen unless the world’s
consumers, companies and governments change their
current habits.
The People of the Rain Forest:
This section
explores
the lives of different people in the rain forest and presents
their experiences through a series of first-person narratives.
Here, readers learn about the relation between the people
of the Xingu River and the white men through a story
of an old man. They also find out about the Kayapo
Indians by means of an old man’s story and a short
panel story which help to build a fuller picture of the
Kayapo’s lives and concerns. Next, readers hear about
how the Amazonian forests were cleared for farming,
and how farms eventually failed, leaving people without
money, through the story of a Brazilian taxi driver.
Readers are then informed about the economic rise and
fall of
Manaus—the most important city in the Amazon
rainforest. Manaus became rich due to the rubber industry
but it eventually suffered a severe economic decline in
the 1920s when other countries started producing rubber
more cheaply. Finally, readers hear the views of a Brazilian
cattle farmer who argues that Brazil, as a whole, will face a
poor future if it does not use even more of the rain forest
land for farming.
Plans for the Rain Forests:
This final section ends by
looking to the future and asking what can be done to save
the rain forest whilst still safeguarding the livelihoods of
the people who live in and around it.
Background and themes
Environmental issues:
These issues are the main theme
of the book. With the destruction of the rain forests,
thousands of the world’s animals and plants are becoming
extinct even before we have the chance to discover and
study them. Also, the rapid disappearance of much of the
world’s forests is contributing towards global warming.
The world’s weather systems are changing and the results
could be catastrophic.
The effect of colonization:
The book also explores the
role that history has had in the destruction of the Amazon
rain forest. When the Europeans arrived in South America
in the sixteenth century, they changed the continent for
ever. Many indigenous people were killed in wars and by
imported diseases. By 1700 the colonists were plundering
the rain forest’s resources to meet the demands of
Europeans and North Americans for hardwood. And with
the growth of the global economy through the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries, Brazil became more and more
reliant on its exports—rubber, wood and agricultural
produce. All of these industries put more pressure on the
forest’s resources.
The future of the Amazon:
By presenting a number of
different points of view, the book highlights the difficult
job that Brazil’s government faces. The forest’s resources
are wanted by a number of different groups of people,
each with their own strong arguments. In addition to
needing to take responsibility for the welfare of its own
people, the Brazilian government is also under a lot of
external pressure from environmental groups and other
governments around the world. The future of the Amazon
is an international affair and relies upon cooperation and
understanding among nations.
Discussion activities
Before reading
1
Pair work and predict:
Ask students to look at the
cover of the book but not to open it. Based on their
own general knowledge, each pair should write an
outline for a short book about rain forests. Guide
them with these instructions:
Look at the book cover
in pairs
and
imagine the main sections of your book.
Include also a short description of the content (including
any pictures) of each section.
2
Compare:
When the pairs have finished their
outlines, ask them to look at the book’s Contents page
and to flick through its pages to compare it with their
own books:
Now open
The Amazon Rain Forest
and
compare its contents to your own book. How close were
you?
3
Read carefully and pair work:
Ask students to read
the Introduction in pairs. Guide them with these
questions:
Read the Introduction in pairs and (a) discuss
with another student how it makes you feel. Then (b) try
to answer the question at the bottom of the Introduction
together.
4
Group work and write:
Ask students to work in
groups. They should write a short paragraph about
the rain forests using at least ten of the words below:
air
cattle
disappear
disease
frog
grow
leaf
piranha
plant
poison
root
rubber
seed
soil
water
Ask students to look up the words they do not know
in the Word List
in back of the book.
Pages 1–9
While reading
5
Pair work: The Amazon
Tell students to work in pairs and to take down
notes of the most important information they read
on pages 2– 4:
As you read about the Amazon on
pages 2– 4, decide with another student which are the
five most important things about it. Write them down.
6
Read and check: Piranhas
Ask students to copy and complete the following
chart about piranhas while they read page 4.
What they
usually eat
What they eat
when they are
hungry
Their size
Their
teeth
7
Research: South America
Ask students to work in groups and look at the
map on page 5. They discuss what they know about
Latin American countries and choose one to do
research on:
Work in groups. Look at the map on page 5
and (a) compare these countries

their size, their rain
forests, their mountains, etc; (b) say what else you know
about these countries; (c) choose one country and find out
more about it. Then tell the rest of the class.
8
Write:
Ask students to look at the section of text on
page 8 called ‘Food from the Forest’ and ask them to
do the following activity as you write the everyday
foods listed (fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, chocolate
and sugar) on the board:
Write three sentences about
each of these foods. For example: ‘I eat fruit every day.
I had a banana for my breakfast this morning. My
favorite fruits are strawberries and grapes.’
9
Pair work:
Tell students to work in pairs and to do
the following activity as they read page 9:
Work with
another student. Read ‘Medicines for all’ on page 9. Each
student writes down five questions and then they take
turns to ask and answer questions.
After reading
10
Group work and guess:
Students work in groups.
Each student chooses to be one of the animals, rivers
or trees in this section (the Amazon, the piranhas,
the rain forest, etc). They take it in turns to describe
themselves and the others guess who they are.
11
Role play:
Tell students to do the following activity
after reading page 8:
Imagine you are two people living
in different parts of the rain forest. Tell each other where
and how you live, what you do every day, etc.
12
Write:
Discuss with students what newspaper articles
are like. Tell them what a headline is. Ask students to
work in pairs on the following activity after reading
the section:
Imagine that you are writers for your school
newspaper and you choose to write about one of the
animals, rivers or trees in this section. Decide what to
write about, and what headline and pictures to use.
Then write down your article.
Choose five students to read their work out loud and
have the rest vote for the best one.
13
Group work and compare:
Ask students to work in
groups and to compare each text of this section to
their own country:
In groups, re-read pages 1–9 quickly
and compare each river, animal, fish, tree, rain forest,
etc., you read about with one from your country. Take
some time to talk about them
reliant on its exports—rubber, wood and agricultural
produce. All of these industries put more pressure on the
forest’s resources.
The future of the Amazon:
By presenting a number of
different points of view, the book highlights the difficult
job that Brazil’s government faces. The forest’s resources
are wanted by a number of different groups of people,
each with their own strong arguments. In addition to
needing to take responsibility for the welfare of its own
people, the Brazilian government is also under a lot of
external pressure from environmental groups and other
governments around the world. The future of the Amazon
is an international affair and relies upon cooperation and
understanding among nations