Listening Practice: How Wolves Change Rivers

As you know, I am a big fan of listening widely to improve your English, and so I like to share a lot of resources that will allow you to get more practice with listening to high-quality English language.

This video is great for expanding your understanding of words and phrases related to environmental science, specifically related to animals and the environment. It is also useful for anyone who is studying for an English proficiency exam such as TOEFL or IELTS.

Watch the video several times with and without closed captions (CC) and answer the questions below to test your understanding of what is described in the video.

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Comment below to tell me what you think of the video and the wolves.



1. What is a trophic cascade?

2. What national park is he talking about?

3. What animal was reintroduced to the park back in 1995?

4. How long had the wolves been absent?

5. What species of animal had eaten most of the vegetation?

6. What does it mean to regenerate? What happened in the park (shown in the video)?

7. Which animals are considered eco-engineers?

8. Why did the numbers of mice and rabbits rise?

9. What happened to the rivers because of the wolves?

10. What does the term physical geography refer to?


Possible Answers

1. A trophic cascade is an ecological process which starts at the top of the food chain and tumbles all the way down to the bottom.

2. Yellowstone National Park

3. Wolves

4. 70 years

5. Deer

6. Regenerate means to regrow. The trees started to grow; birds started to increase, as did the number of beavers. More and more animals started to come and their populations increased.

7. Beavers (and wolves)

8. The wolves killed coyotes, and as a result of that, the number of rabbits and mice began to rise.

9.  The behavior of the rivers changed because of the wolves. (The wolves changed the behavior of the rivers.) The rivers began to meander less, there was less erosion, the channels narrowed, more pools formed, more riffle sections; all of which were great for wildlife. The rivers changed in the response to the wolves.

10. Physical geography refers to the rivers, soil, vegetation, and trees that changed because of the reintroduction of the wolves.

How did you do?