Protecting the Florida Manatee
With an average length of ten feet and a weight of 1,200 pounds, the large, slow-moving Florida manatee is perhaps the most distinctive marine mammal of the southeastern United States. Found predominantly in the oceans, rivers, and estuaries around southern Florida in the cooler months, manatees frequently travel as far west as Texas and as far north as Virginia during the summer. They have been inhabitants of these marine environments for 45 million years. In recent times, however, the manatee has become an endangered species, and an intense debate has ensued over some of the measures implemented to protect its survival.
The Florida manatee faces numerous threats from both natural and human¬generated causes. The most immediate survival needs for manatees are warm water and an adequate source of food. The animals will suffer if either of these necessities cannot be found. For example, in water below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, a manatee’s large body cannot convert food into energy fast enough to keep the animal warm, and it will most likely die. Sometimes, entire groups of manatees perish when they are caught too far north at the time of a sudden cold spell. Two other potentially lethal hazards are blooms of poisonous marine algae and catastrophic weather events such as hurricanes.
==>Despite their sensitivity to these natural conditions, the biggest threats to the survival of the manatee come from human activities.
One major concern is the loss of habitat due to increases in land development and the introduction of pollutants to the environment. Manatees’ access to seagrass, their main food source, and warm water during the winter is limited in this way, forcing them into more northern areas where they are less likely to find the resources they need to survive. They can also be severely harmed by discarded fishing lines and nets, and, more significantly, frequently die after being hit by watercraft. In addition, general harassment by individual humans has led to many manatee deaths.
The state of Florida has been passing laws to safeguard manatees from such threats since 1893. The animal’s listing as an endangered species in 1967 led to the creation of several protected wildlife areas in Florida, and conservationists are hoping to both expand the existing areas and establish new protection zones.
The primary activity which such zones seek to control is boating. Collisions with watercraft are the leading cause of death for the Florida manatee, accounting for 25 percent of all recorded mortalities, and some research has found that as many as 90 percent of observed Florida manatees bear scars from run-ins with boat propellers. More disturbingly, these incidents are responsible for the most deaths of adult manatees of reproductive age. This is detrimental to the overall population, because it affects the manatees best able to multiply the species. Current and proposed protected areas either place speed limits on boat travel or ban the use of marine motor vehicles altogether.
These conservationist measures have angered the region’s boating and fishing communities, who see no need for such restrictions. Members of these groups argue that existing regulations are more than adequate, and that manatee populations are on the rise and are no longer in danger. Indeed, successive surveys from the 1980s to the present have tallied larger and larger numbers of manatees living around Florida. However, this increase may be due as much to advances in surveying techniques, which simply enable counters to find more manatees, as it is to an actual rise in the population. Other allegations that have become points of contention, such as the suggestions that expanded refuge zones will devalue property, raise taxes, or hurt the regional economy, have so far proved to be unfounded.
As awareness about the plight of the Florida manatee spreads, the majority of the public chooses to support efforts to protect the creatures. 10 The manatee is now a recognized symbol of Florida’s wildlife and has become well known throughout the world. B Companies offering tourists the opportunity to view manatees in the wild are growing in popularity. 0 Though no one denies that the endangered Florida manatee still faces many challenges, with the help of conservationists and other concerned members of the public, it can hopefully continue to overcome them.
27. The word ensued in the passage is closest in meaning to
28. According to paragraph 2, what factor is responsible for the manatee’s inability to survive in cold water?
(A) its diet
(B) Its size
(C) Its habitat
(D) Its behavior
29. From the information in paragraph 3, what can be inferred about species recognized as endangered?
(A) They are eligible for special treatment
(B) They succeed in stabilizing their populations.
(C) They mostly inhabit the state of Florida.
(D) They have been the subject of laws for over 100 years.
Paragraph 3 is marked with an arrow [■*).
30. The word detrimental in the passage is closest in meaning to
31. Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage? Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
(A) Researchers report that 90 percent of all known Florida manatee deaths have been the result of boat collisions.
(B) Watercraft collisions have led to more manatee deaths than any other cause, and most manatees possess injuries from such encounters.
(C) While 90 percent of the Florida manatee population has been injured by watercraft, only 25 percent of these incidents resulted in the death of the animal.
(D) More Florida manatees die as a result of boat collisions than die from any other single cause.
32. Why does the author present the arguments of the boating and fishing communities in paragraph 5?
(A) To illustrate the controversy caused by the manatee protection issue
(B) To give examples of some successful conservation efforts
(C) To explain why new regulations are unnecessary
(D) To emphasize the importance of the economy over wildlife concerns
Paragraph 5 is marked with an arrow [■♦].
33. The word it in the passage refers to
34 The word contention in the passage is closest in meaning to
35. According to the passage, which of the following statements most accurately reflects the author’s opinion about the Florida manatee?
(A) It has recovered remarkably when compared to the 1980s.
(B) It has become a burden on the taxpayers of southern Florida.
(C) It should be more fully protected from dangerous algae blooms.
(D) It should receive further guardianship from humans in the future.
36. According to paragraph 6, which of the following is true about manatees?
(A) They can be found in many regions of the world.
(B) They are expected to migrate farther south.
(C) They receive limited support from the public.
(D) They benefit the tourism industry in Florida.
Paragraph 6 is marked with an arrow [»*1.
37. All of these are mentioned in the passage as threats to the Florida manatee EXCEPT
(A) the spread of diseases
(B) toxic water plants
(C) submerged fishing equipment
(D) the loss of feeding grounds
38. Look at the four squares HI that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
Conservation groups funded by private donations have played a key role in promoting this understanding.
Where would the sentence best fit?
39. Directions: An introductory sentence for a brief summary of the passage is provided below. Complete the summary by selecting the THREE answer choices that express the most important ideas in the passage. Some sentences do not belong in the summary because they express ideas that are not presented in the passage or are minor ideas in the passage. This question is worth 2 points.
The manatee has always faced certain natural dangers in the waters around Honda, but in modem times humans pose the greatest threat to the survival of the species.
(A) Manatees were once able to travel to other regions of the United States, but now are confined to the areas around southern Florida.
(B) Coastal development projects and pollution runoff destroy marine environments that provide manatees with the resources that are essential to their survival.
(C) Boating collisions are responsible for a quarter of all Florida manatee deaths and inhibit the species’ ability to multiply.
(D) Florida has a long history of promoting legal protections for the manatee, beginning in 1893.
(E) Money generated from tourism related to manatees has helped pay for some of the conservation programs that benefit the animals.
(F) Though some organizations have taken a leading role in protecting the manatee, others strongly oppose the expansion of conservation measures.
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