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Zoo Conservation Programmes IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 28 February, 2024

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The IELTS reading section assesses the applicant’s English proficiency and comprehension skills. Practicing sample IELTS papers is the ideal strategy to ace the exam. To enhance your preparation process, here is the reading passage for the topic of 'Zoo conservation programmes', along with questions and answers. 

Zoo Conservation Programmes IELTS Reading Passage

One of London Zoo’s recent advertisements caused me some irritation, so patently did it distort reality. Headlined “Without zoos you might as well tell these animals to get stuffed,” it was bordered with illustrations of several endangered species and went on to extol the myth that without zoos like London Zoo, these animals “will almost certainly disappear forever.” With the zoo world’s rather mediocre record on conservation, one might be forgiven for being slightly skeptical about such an advertisement.

Zoos were originally created as places of entertainment, and their suggested involvement with conservation didn’t seriously arise until about 30 years ago, when the Zoological Society of London held the first formal international meeting on the subject. Eight years later, a series of world conferences took place, entitled “The Breeding of Endangered Species”, and from this point onwards conservation became the zoo community’s buzzword. This commitment has now been clear defined in The World Zoo Conservation Strategy (WZGS, September 1993), which although an important and welcome document does seem to be based on an unrealistic optimism about the nature of the zoo industry.

The WZCS estimates that there are about 10,000 zoos in the world, of which around 1,000 represent a core of quality collections capable of participating in coordinated conservation programmes. This is probably the document’s first failing, as I believe that 10,000 is a serious underestimate of the total number of places masquerading as zoological establishments. Of course, it is difficult to get accurate data but, to put the issue into perspective, I have found that, in a year of working in Eastern Europe, I discover fresh zoos on almost a weekly basis.

The second flaw in the reasoning of the WZCS document is the naive faith it places in its 1,000 core zoos. One would assume that the calibre of these institutions would have been carefully examined, but it appears that the criterion for inclusion on this select list might merely be that the zoo is a member of a zoo federation or association. This might be a good starting point, working on the premise that members must meet certain standards, but again the facts don’t support the theory. The greatly respected American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (AAZPA) has had extremely dubious members, and in the UK the Federation of Zoological Gardens of Great Britain and Ireland has occasionally had members that have been roundly censured in the national press. These include Robin Hill Adventure Park on the Isle of Wight, which many considered the most notorious collection of animals in the country. This establishment, which for years was protected by the Isle’s local council (which viewed it as a tourist amenity), was finally closed down following a damning report by a veterinary inspector appointed under the terms of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. As it was always a collection of dubious repute, one is obliged to reflect upon the standards that the Zoo Federation sets when granting membership. The situation is even worse in developing countries where little money is available for redevelopment and it is hard to see a way of incorporating collections into the overall scheme of the WZCS.

Even assuming that the WZCS’s 1,000 core zoos are all of a high standard, complete with scientific staff and research facilities, trained and dedicated keepers, accommodation that permits normal or natural behaviour, and a policy of co-operating fully with one another, what might be the potential for conservation? Colin Tudge, author of Last Animals at the Zoo (Oxford University Press, 1992), argues that “if the world”s zoos worked together in co-operative breeding programmes, then even without further expansion, they could save around 2,000 species of endangered land vertebrates’. This seems an extremely optimistic proposition from a man who must be aware of the failings and weaknesses of the zoo industry, the man who, when a member of the council of London Zoo, had to persuade the zoo to devote more of its activities to conservation. Moreover, where are the facts to support such optimism?

Today approximately 16 species might be said to have been “saved” by captive breeding programmes, although a number of these can hardly be looked upon as resounding successes. Beyond that, about a further 20 species are being seriously considered for zoo conservation programmes. Given that the international conference at London Zoo was held 30 years ago, this is pretty slow progress, and a long way off Tudge’s target of 2,000.

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Zoo Conservation Programmes IELTS Reading Question-Answers Sample

Questions 1-7

Do the writer’s views given in the passage match with the following statements? 

Mention Yes, No or Not Given beside these statements.

Yes, if the statement matches the writer’s views.

No, if the statement does not align with the writer’s ideas.

Not given if it is not possible to state any of the above.   

Q1. London Zoo’s advertisements are dishonest.

Q2. Zoos made an insignificant contribution to conservation up until 30 years ago.

Q3. The WZCS document is not known in Eastern Europe.

Q4. Zoos in the WZCS select list were carefully inspected.

Q5. No-one knew how the animals were being treated at Robin Hill Adventure Park.

Q6. Colin Tudge was dissatisfied with the treatment of animals at London Zoo.

Q7. The number of successful zoo conservation programmes is unsatisfactory. 

Questions 8-10

Select the correct answers for the following questions and mention letters A-D beside each.

Q8. What were the objectives of the WZCS document?

  1. to improve the calibre of zoos world-wide
  2. to identify zoos suitable for conservation practice
  3. to provide funds for zoos in underdeveloped countries
  4. to list the endangered species of the world

Q9. Why does the writer refer to Robin Hill Adventure Park?

  1. to support the Isle of Wight local council
  2. to criticise the 1981 Zoo Licensing Act
  3. to illustrate a weakness in the WZCS document
  4. to exemplify the standards in AAZPA zoos

Q10. What word best describes the writer’s response to Colin Tudges’ prediction on captive breeding programmes?

  1. disbelieving
  2. impartial
  3. prejudiced
  4. accepting

Questions 11-13

The author has explained his doubts about the reliability of the WZCS document. Write down the three factors that influenced his thoughts. Write your answers (A-F) in boxes 11-13. 

List of Factors:

  1. the number of unregistered zoos in the world
  2. the lack of money in developing countries
  3. the actions of the Isle of Wight local council
  4. the failure of the WZCS to examine the standards of the “core zoos”
  5. the unrealistic aim of the WZCS in view of the number of species “saved” to date
  6. the policies of WZCS zoo managers

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Answer 1: Yes 



According to the first paragraph, the London Zoo’s advertisement states that many endangered animals will become extinct without zoos. It is not a correct statement as the writer mentions London zoos' poor animal conservation track record. 

As zoos were traditionally considered places for recreation, the authorities did not focus on conservation for decades. So, the given statement is correct.   






Answer 2: Yes



This statement clearly matches the writer's opinions. As zoos were public entertainment venues, animal conservation was not an area of concern until 30 years. Only after the Zoological Society of London asked the zoos to focus on conservation did the authorities become serious about it. 

Subsequent conferences, such as the one on “The Breeding of Endangered Species,” compelled the zoos to take initiatives to conserve endangered species.  

Answer 3: Not Given



In the paragraphs of the zoo conservation programmes, the author explains how the WZCS document talks about zoos across the globe and the importance of animal conservation initiatives. However, it is not mentioned whether the document was popular or circulated in the Eastern European region. 

Hence, this statement is inconclusive and does not reflect the writer’s thoughts.    


Answer 4: No



In the third paragraph of the zoo conservation programmes sample, the author mentions the WZCS document and the associated zoo listings. It is further explained that the document estimates the presence of 10,000 zoos worldwide. 

According to the author, the number of zoos is a lot more than this estimation, and there are many zoos still unexplored. Hence, the statement does not hold true.        



Answer 5: No



The Robin Hill Adventure Park was notorious for the way they handled their animals and related zoo operations. The establishment was managed by a local council of the Isle of Wight. However, the facility was shut down after of veterinary Inspector published a report stating that the zoo did not match the standards of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981. It means the higher authorities were aware of the treatment of animals at the Robin Hill Adventure Park. So, the statement does not align with the writer's perspective. 

 Answer 6: Not given



It is not clearly mentioned if Colin Tudge was dissatisfied with the animal conservation programs at the London Zoo. However, the author mentions in the zoo conservation programs paragraph that Tudge felt that zoos across the globe could save around 2,000 endangered animal species if they collaboratively worked in breeding programs. 


Answer 7: Yes



This statement of the zoo conservation programs reading answers sample is correct and matches the writer's views. The author elaborates on this topic by mentioning that around 16 animal species might have been saved through breeding programs. 

Moreover, there might be 20 more species that can be preserved, which explains the inefficiency of conservation programs. Thus, the statement clearly depicts what the author wishes to explain.   


Answer 8: B



The main aim of preparing the WZCS document was to identify zoos capable of protecting animals and handling conservation programs. It also includes a list of all the operational zoos in the world.  


Answer 9: C



The writer talks about the Robin Hill Adventure Park in the zoo conservation programs passage to explain the facility's operations. It is explained that the WZCS document considers all the enlisted zoos to be reliable. 

However, Robin Hill Adventure Park was known for being unable to handle the animals and closed subsequently.      


Answer 10: A



In the zoo conservation programmes reading answers sample, the author explains how Colin Tudge’s estimations on animal conservation are unrealistic. So, the writer’s statements show disbelief about Tudge’s views on conservation through cooperative breeding programs. 

Answer 11-13: A, D and E  



The three factors mentioned in the zoo conservation programs sample are - 

  • The lack of information about unregistered zoos globally 
  • Improper analysis of the quality standards of core zoos 
  • Unrealistic approximation of the WZCS about the number of secured species to date  


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