B2 Reading Multiple Matching Exam 11
(A) The Lion
With some males exceeding 250 kg in weight, it is the second-largest living cat after the tiger. Wild lions currently exist in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia while other types of lions have disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia in historic times. Until the late Pleistocene, about 10,000 years ago, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal after humans. They were found in most of Africa, across Eurasia from western Europe to India, and in the Americas from the Yukon to Peru.
The lion is a vulnerable species. Lion populations are untenable outside designated reserves and national parks. Although the cause of the decline is not fully understood, habitat loss and conflicts with humans are currently the greatest causes of concern. Within Africa, the West African lion population is particularly endangered.
Lions live for 10–14 years in the wild, while in captivity they can live longer than 20 years. They typically inhabit savanna and grassland, although they may take to the forest. Lions are unusually social compared to other cats. A pride of lions consists of related females and offspring and a small number of adult males. While lions do not typically hunt humans, some have been known to do so. Sleeping mainly during the day, lions are primarily nocturnal.
The lion has been an icon for humanity for thousands of years, appearing in cultures across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Despite incidents of attacks on humans, lions have enjoyed a positive depiction in culture as strong but noble. A common depiction is their representation as "king of the jungle" or "king of beasts"; hence, the lion has been a popular symbol of royalty and stateliness, as well as a symbol of bravery.
(B) The Leopard
The leopard is a member of the Felidae family with a wide range in some parts of Africa and tropical Asia, from Siberia, South and West Asia to across most of sub-Saharan Africa. It is listed as Near Threatened because it is declining in large parts of its range due to habitat loss and fragmentation, and hunting for trade and pest control.
Compared to other members of the large cat family, the leopard has relatively short legs and a long body with a large skull. It is similar in appearance to the jaguar, but is smaller and more slightly built. Its fur is marked with rosettes similar to those of the jaguar, but the leopard's rosettes are smaller and more densely packed, and do not usually have central spots as the jaguars do.
The species' success in the wild is in part due to its opportunistic hunting behavior, its adaptability to habitats, its ability to run at speeds approaching 58 kilometres per hour (36 mph), its unequaled ability to climb trees even when carrying a heavy carcass, and its notorious ability for stealth. The leopard consumes virtually any animal that it can hunt down and catch. Its habitat ranges from rainforest to desert terrains.
Most leopards avoid people, but humans may occasionally be targeted as prey. Most healthy leopards prefer wild prey to humans, but injured, sickly, or struggling cats or those with a shortage of regular prey may resort to hunting humans and become habituated to it. Although usually slightly smaller than a human, an adult leopard is much more powerful and easily capable of killing them.
(C) The Bobcat
The bobcat is a North American wild cat, appearing around 1.8 million years ago. With 12 recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico. The bobcat is an adaptable predator that inhabits wooded areas, as well as semi-desert, urban edge, forest edges, and swampland environments. It persists in much of its original range, and populations are healthy.
With a gray to brown coat, whiskered face, and black-tufted ears, the bobcat resembles the other species of the Lynx genus. It is about twice as large as the domestic cat. It has distinctive black bars on its forelegs and a black-tipped, stubby tail, from which it derives its name.
Though the bobcat prefers rabbits and hares, it will hunt anything from insects, chickens, and small rodents to deer. Prey selection depends on location and habitat, season, and abundance. Like most cats, the bobcat is territorial and largely solitary, although with some overlap in home ranges. It uses several methods to mark its territorial boundaries, including claw marks and deposits of urine. The bobcat breeds from winter into spring and has a gestation period of about two months.
Although bobcats have been hunted extensively by humans, both for sport and fur, their population has proven resilient. The elusive predator features in Native American mythology and the folklore of European settlers.