35. Reading Skills Comprehension: ELEPHANTS -NATURE’S NOMADS


No longer are there enough forests to support the remaining population of Elephas Maximus, the Asian elephant. Large-scale deforestation has deprived the elephant of its natural habitat, and the animals which once roamed through Asia, from the Tigris in the West, all through to East Asia, are now trapped in small pockets of forest land.

Elephants are large animals. They consume about 1 to 1.5 per cent of their body weight in a day. They forage almost continuously, and are always on the move, looking for fodder. As the situation stands presently, they encounter cultivated land at every turn. There once existed ‘corridors’ of forest land, connecting one patch of forest to another, but these are soon being wiped out.

Deprived of their natural habitat, the elephants invade the cultivated land and destroy crops. They become a threat to the human population. A nuisance that has to be controlled. Large-scale poaching has already made them an endangered species. They cannot be treated like other vermin and disposed of. Some people, nevertheless, leave crude explosives coated with food lying around in their fields. These explosives go off as soon as the animal bites into them.

 In such cases, the animal dies of starvation—its wound renders it unable to eat. Other people deal with the problem by enclosing their plantations with electric fences. These fences are meant to scare the animal away be giving it a mild shock. But elephants are by no means dumb and stupid animals, and these are easily demolished with an insulating tree trunk.

Meanwhile, people keep pushing their habitations deeper and deeper into the forest, and man-elephant confrontations become inevitable. There remains only one thing to be done. Capture the beasts! Train them—teach these monstrous trouble-makers a lesson in obedience.

Having tampered with the environment and caused a problem, we tamper with it some more to find a temporary and superficial solution to the problem.

Elephants were once captured by the kheddan method. Stockades were built, and herds of elephants were driven into these stockades. In most places now, however, they are captured by the supposedly more humane method of tranquillising. Whatever the method, for an animal who has spent up to years in the wild, waking up to a life of captivity must be traumatic indeed.                                                                —The Hindustan Times

On the basis of your reading of the passage, answer the following questions as briefly as possible. Write your answers in the spaces provided.

(a) Earlier the elephants roamed through Asia, from the Tigris in the West, all through to East Asia, but now …

(b) Elephants are always on the move for food. Deforestation has made them …

(c) ‘… they encounter cultivated land …’. For whom does ‘they’ stand here?

 (d) Find a word from lines 5-15 which means ‘small animals’ …

(e) ‘… these are easily demolished’ (line 19). ‘These’ here stands for …

(f) Find a word from lines 13-23 which means ‘that cannot be avoided’ …

(g) Elephants die due to starvation when …

(h) The man-elephant confrontation has resulted in their …


 (a) they are trapped in small pockets of forest land

(b) wander in the cultivated land                   

 (c) the elephants                    

(d) vermin

 (e) electric fences      

(f) inevitable

 (g) some food-coated explosive injures them making them unable to eat

(h) being captured alive to do useful work

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