For centuries, in the countries of south andSoutheast Asia the elephant has been an intimate part of the culture, economyand religion, and nowhere more so than inThailand. Unlike its Africancousin, the Asian elephant is easily domesticated (驯化). The rare so-called white elephants haveactually lent the authority of kingship to its rulers and until the 1920s thenational flag was a white elephant on a red background. To the early Westernvisitors the country's romantic name was “Land of the White Elephant”.
Today, however, the story is very different.Out of work and out of land, the Thai elephant struggles for survival in anation that no longer needs it. The elephant has found itself more or lessabandoned by previous owners who have moved on to a different economic worldand a westernized society. And while theelephant's problems began many years ago, now it rates a very low nationalpriority.
How this reversal from national icon (圣像) to neglected animal came about is a tale ofworsening environmental and the changing lives of the Thais themselves.According to Richard Lair,Thailand’sexperts on the Asian elephant and author of the report Gone Astray, at the turnof the century there may well have been as many as 100,000 domestic elephantsin the country. In the north ofThailandalone it was estimated that more than 20,000 elephants were employed intransport, 1,000 of them alone on the road between the cities of Chiang Mai andChiang Saen. This was at a time when 90per cent of Thailand was still forest—a habitat (栖息地)that not only supported the animals but also made them necessary to carry goodsand people. Nothing ploughs through dense forest better than a massive butsure-footed elephant.
By 1950 the elephant population had droppedto a still substantial 13,397, but today there are probably no more than 3,800,with another 1,350 roaming free in the national parks. But now,Thailand’sforest covers only 20 per cent of the land. This deforestation (采伐森林) is the central point of the elephant'sdifficult situation, for it has effectively put the animals out of work. Thiscentury, as the road network grew, so the elephant's role as a beast of burdendeclined.
1. Whatcan we know about African elephants from the passage?
A. It is easy to tame them.
B. It is hard to tame them.
C. They are living a better life than Asianelephants.
D. Their fate is quite similar to that ofAsian elephants.
2.Thailandwasonce called “Land of the White Elephant” because_______.
A. white elephant is rarely seen and thusvery special
B. white elephant was a national symbol untilthe 1920s
C. white elephant has helped kings to gainthe ruling authority
D. this name was so romantic that it waspopular among visitors
3. Why isthe Thai elephant “out of work”, according to the author?
A. Because the elephants are no longer usefulto their owners.
B. Because their owners are westernized andneglect them.
C. Because the government pays littleattention to the problem.
D. Because there are too many elephants andtoo few jobs.
4. Whichof the following statements is true about the elephant population at varioustimes?
A. There were 100,000 tamed elephants at theturn of the century.
B. 20,000 elephants were employed intransport inThailandat the turn of the century.
C. By 1950 the elephant population inThailandhas been quite small.
D. Today the elephant population is estimatedat 5,150.
5. Thepassage is most probably from_______.
A. a travel magazine B. a history book
C. a research report D. an official announcement
2．[B]推理判断题。根据文章第l段第4句中的“until the 1920s the national flag was awhite elephant on a red background．”可知当时白象是泰国的国家象征，因此B为正确选项。本题最具干扰性的是选项D，在形式上，选项D与第1段最后一句极为相似，但是，游客这样称呼泰国，原因也是因为白象是泰国的象征，而不只是因为这个名字浪漫，因此，选项D是对原文的曲解；选项A和选项C虽然也来自文章，但不是原因，不能回答所提问题。
3．[A]推理判断题。文章有几处解释了大象失业的原因，如第2段的第2句“a nation that no longer needs it (Thaielephant)”及最后一段的最后一句“the elephant’s role as a beast ofburden declined”等。选项A是对这些解释的一个基本概括。选项B中westernized和neglect虽在文章中出现，但选项B只是对想像的描述，不能解释大象“失业”的原因。选项C来自第2段最后一句话，但这句话只能说明大象不再受重视，不能作为大象“失业”的理由。选项D原文未提及，而且，从第3、4段可以看出：大象的数量急剧下降，谈不上“太多”。
4．[D]事实细节题。此题考查的是大象数量变化的情况。四个选项中的数字惟有选项D没有直接出现，但根据第4段第l句很容易推算出来。选项A和B虽用了原文的数据，但选项A忽略了may这个词，而且未点明泰国，故不妥。B则忽略了in the north of Thailand及more than这两处。选项C中的small与原文substantial(大量的)冲突，也不对。