Austin Ramzy 2016-02-11 22:50:44
When these tiny birds were in trouble, it took some big, furry dogs to save them. “Massacred,” read a big headline in the newspaper. Below the headline was a photo of dead penguins. It was October 2004. Red foxes had just killed 180 penguins on Middle Island off the coast of Australia. Foxes are not native to Australia. But humans had brought foxes there to use for sport hunting. Now, the foxes were feasting on penguins and other native wildlife. The type of penguin that lives on Middle Island is called the little penguin. It is the smallest penguin species in the world. Once, about 800 little penguins lived on the island. By 2005, that number was below 10. What could be done? Shaggy Solution A local chicken farmer named Allan “Swampy” Marsh had an idea. Marsh wanted to train sheepdogs to protect the penguins. The dogs would scare the foxes away, he said. Marsh used sheepdogs to guard his chickens from foxes. He thought it would work for penguins too. At first, local officials said no. “The powers that be wouldn’t listen to me until it got down to six penguins,” says Marsh. “They were desperate.” Finally, in 2006, the first sheepdog was put to work. Since then, the number of penguins on Middle Island has grown to 150. Not one has been lost to a fox, according to David Williams, who helped Marsh with the sheepdog project. Hope for Other Animals Australian zoos are now trying to use dogs to save the eastern barred bandicoot. This small furry animal has not been seen outside a zoo since 2002. But the zoos plan to release bandicoots into the wild, with sheepdogs for protection. Says one zoo worker, “We are very excited.” Action Activity You’ve just read“Penguin Protectors.” Now it’s time to take our quiz! If you’re not sure of an answer, look back at the article. WHAT TO DO: Fill in the bubble next to the best answer for each question. 1.What is the central idea, or main point, of the article? A Little penguins are extinct. B About 800 little penguins used to live on Middle Island near Australia. C Trained sheepdogs guarded penguins from danger, helping penguin numbers rise. D Allan “Swampy” Marsh is a genius. 2.If you had to write a different headline for this article, which one would make the most sense? A “The Cutest Penguins in the World” B “Hope for Eastern Barred Bandicoots” C “Zoos of Australia” D “Using Sheepdogs to Save Penguins” 3.Which of the following statements is NOT supported by the text? A Since 2006, penguin numbers have grown on Middle Island. B Red foxes are not native to Australia. C The little penguin is the only type of penguin that lives in Australia. D David Williams worked with Marsh. CHALLENGE Paired-Text Question 4.Look back at “The Snake That’s Eating Florida” on page 4, and at the article on page 10. What do pythons in Florida have in common with foxes in Australia? How are these two invasive species different? What kind of impacts do they have on their environments? List two similarities and two differences that you found in the texts.
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