How To Catch Up-Improve English Listening With Chernobyl Wildlife Ep 623

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📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 2872 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 15 min

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Improve Your English Listening Skills While Learning About Chernobyl's Thriving Wildlife

Boost your English fluency! Hear how Chernobyl exclusion zone’s thriving habitat has helped wild animals, while you improve your English! Listen to the latest Learn English Through Listening podcast and discover new vocabulary related to ecology and environment. Join our language learning community and reach your goals today!

Listening is a master skill for personal and professional greatness
⭐ Robin S. Sharma
#LearnEnglish #EnglishListening #WildlifeVocabulary

Just as wild animals thrive in the aftermath of the Chernobyl disaster, English listening will help you survive and thrive in everyday English conversations.

More About This Lesson

This lesson will help you improve your English listening skills and fluency. Listening to the podcast and engaging with the fascinating story of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, you’ll practice listening to English in a real-life context while also expanding your vocabulary related to the environment and ecology. This will help you better understand and communicate with English speakers in a variety of situations, building your confidence and enabling you to connect with others on a deeper level.

  • Listening is the key to effective communication in any language. By improving your listening skills, you’ll be better able to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.
  • Don’t worry if you can’t understand English speakers at first. Our approach to learning to speak English fluently will guide you through each episode and help you improve your listening skills.
  • Don’t forget you’re not alone in your struggle to understand English speakers. Join our community of language learners and let us help you reach your goals.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
⭐ Stephen Covey

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ: You Might Have...

  1. What will I learn from this English listening lesson? You’ll improve your English listening skills, and vocabulary related to the environment and ecology. You’ll also learn about the fascinating story of how the Chernobyl exclusion zone has become a thriving habitat for wild animals.
  2. How will this lesson help me in real-life situations? Improving your listening skills will help you understand English speakers in real-life situations, allowing you to better communicate and connect with others.
  3. What level of English proficiency do I need to have to benefit from this lesson? This lesson is suitable for intermediate and advanced English language learners.
  4. Will there be any support to help me through the lesson? Yes, we will guide you through the episode, helping you to improve your English listening skills and fluency.
  5. Is this lesson only for people interested in ecology and the environment? No, this lesson is for anyone looking to improve their English listening skills and expand their vocabulary. This English listening lesson is an interesting way to do so.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Ecology: The study of how living things interact with each other and their environment.
  • Environment: The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.
  • Territory: An area of land that is owned or controlled by someone or something.
  • Abandoned: Left behind or given up, often because it is no longer wanted or needed.
  • Radiation: Energy that comes from a source in the form of waves or particles.
  • Flee: To run away from a place or situation to escape danger or trouble.
  • Extinct: A term used when a type of animal or plant no longer exists anywhere in the world.
  • Inhabit: To live or dwell in a particular place.
  • Thrive: To grow, develop, or be successful, especially under favourable conditions.

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

The mp3 audio and pdf transcript for this lesson is now part of the Adept English back catalogue . You can still download and listen to this lesson as part of one of our podcast bundles.

Transcript: How To Catch Up-Improve English Listening With Chernobyl Wildlife

Let's cover an interesting topic, while you practise your English

Hi there. Today let's talk about something really interesting. Following the nuclear meltdown in 1986 in Chernobyl in Ukraine, there has been a 30 kilometre exclusion zone around the site, around the location.

This zone is partly in Ukraine and partly in Belarus. Humans do not inhabit this area, which is still considered unsafe because of radiation. But scientists have been surprised by just how well this zone, this exclusion zone, has been populated by animals. Lots of wild animals, including wild horses and wolves, but also dogs, which are the descendants of the pet dogs, which were left behind when their owners left the area. The abandoned dogs of Chernobyl.

Scientists are now studying the genetics of these animals to learn more about the effects of radiation, but also to understand how and why the animals are doing so well.

So if you listen to this podcast today, there are some interesting ideas, an interesting topic, but you'll also learn vocabulary to do with ecology and the environment.

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

Chernobyl the mini-series - podcast 359

I've talked before in a podcast about Chernobyl and about the dramatization about the disaster in a mini-series, which I watched during the pandemic. To say I enjoyed this series, wouldn't be quite right. It's not enjoyable, it's horrific, but it's an important piece of history and the mini-series was really well done.

It portrayed the 1980s and Soviet era Ukraine very well, I think, with some grim accuracy perhaps. If you're interested, this is podcast 359, and it's still available on our website at Just go to our Adept English website, click on 'Lessons', and then search on 'Chernobyl', C H E R N O B Y L.

Don't forget to sign up for the Seven Rules of Adept English

And while you're on our website, don't forget to sign up for our free course, the Seven Rules of Adept English if you haven't done this course already.

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

This is a free course and it explains how to use the podcasts, like this one most effectively to help you with your English language learning. Our podcasts aim to be 'dual purpose'. They're interesting, but they're really good for your English language learning too.

The dogs of Chernobyl

Now, one of the scenes that I found most upsetting in this mini-series about the Chernobyl disaster was the one where the soldiers went round shooting the dogs, rounding up and shooting the pet dogs that had been left behind when people fled the Chernobyl area. The word 'fled', F L E D is past tense of the verb 'to flee', F L E E. And if you 'flee', it means you leave somewhere quickly and in distress.

The idea of pet dogs, abandoned by their owners, left to fend for themselves in an area of high radiation was heartbreaking. What I've learned since though, is that many of these pet dogs survived and thrived. That's T H R I V E. 'To thrive' means you live well, you do very well. And this is despite the cold, the radiation, and the lack of food. Of course there's a lot less food in an area where there are no human beings.

And because Chernobyl happened in 1986, then the dogs that inhabit the area now are of course the descendants, the grandchildren, and great-grandchildren of the original dogs of Chernobyl. And along with many wild animals, they are inhabiting this exclusion zone around the site. 'To inhabit', I N H A B I T means 'to live in, to occupy'. And we would talk about the place that animals 'inhabit' as their 'habitat', H A B I T A T, like the shop founded by Terence Conran.

Listening Lessons

Wild animals in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

So this. 1,600 square mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl, has been inhabited by many wild animals as well. There are moose, deer, beavers, and owls all living and breeding happily in this zone, in this area.

They're undisturbed by humans and that's given the chance also for brown bears, lynx, even wolves, to proliferate.

It's not only an experiment in how animals adapt to living with radiation, but it's also an experiment in how animals 'proliferate' - that means 'increase in numbers and do well' - where there are no human beings to destroy their habitat or to disturb them.

Wild Przewalski's horses are a rare and even endangered species. ' Endangered' means they're at risk of becoming 'extinct'. E X T I N C T means 'there are no more left'. It means an animal not existing anymore. But here in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, Przewalski's Wild Ponies, wild horses appear to be thriving, doing very well. So there has been interest in the Chernobyl zone as an experiment in 'rewilding', in making the area wild again and seeing just how well the animals do.

What are the effects of radiation on the animals?

But these animals are still living in a high radiation area. So what is the effect of that? Radiation, R A D I A T I O N. That's the noun for the form of energy that comes from a nuclear reaction. And radiation is generally damaging to people and animals especially in high doses. So how are the animals doing? How are they affected by radiation?

Well scientists studying this say that to an extent it depends on the type of animal. Wolves, for example, that's W O L V E S. The singular is W O L F, 'wolf'. Wolves are of course the ancestors of our pet dogs. Wolves have a large territory. They move around a lot. So the wolves in the Chernobyl exclusion zone move between high and low radiation areas. None of them are in the high radiation areas all the time, so they tend not to be as affected. Whereas animals that eat mushrooms, M U S H R O O M S are much more affected because radiation concentrates in mushrooms. And smaller animals have less of a range of territory. So if they're in the high radiation area, then they do become more affected.


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Humans affect animals more adversely than radiation!

On the whole, what's clear though is that the positive effect of the absence of humans, there are no human beings messing it up for the animals, disturbing their habitats. That effect is a positive and it cancels out or seems to cancel out the negative effect of the radiation.

In other words, the presence of human beings is more damaging to the animals than is the radiation. That's crazy.

And I guess this will continue to be the case as the plutonium from the Chernobyl factory 30 years on has now reached its half-life, meaning the point at which the radiation is halved.

A 'golden opportunity' for science, provided by the dogs of Chernobyl

So for scientists who want to study the effects of living with radiation on the animals' DNA, the domestic dog population, still living in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is presenting something of an opportunity. Most of the animals living in this area are of course wild, therefore difficult to catch and do tests on without killing them or damaging them. It's hard to catch wild horses or wolves without cruelty. But many of the dogs descended from the pet dogs of Chernobyl are still very friendly. And they approach the researchers wagging their tails, especially if they have food.

When we talk about an animal being 'domesticated', that's D O M E S T I C A T E D, we mean that it's 'used to, accustomed to living with human beings.'

And domestication isn't just about the experience of an individual dog. It isn't just a dog's experience of living with humans. Domestication is actually in the genes, it's in the genetics. So the dogs are still friendly. And because the dogs are friendly and willing to approach the researchers, it's possible to take blood samples and DNA samples for testing without harming the dogs. This is helping scientists to build up a picture of how radiation affects DNA One of the challenges confronting the researchers is the broad range of DNA differences between different types of dogs. So a Rottweiler is not the same as a Dachshund. Now, clearly over the years since the Chernobyl disaster, the dogs have interbred.

We talk about breeding, B R E E D I N G in dogs, and we talk about types or 'breeds' of dogs, B R E E D S. So a Rottweiler and a Dachsund are both 'breeds' of dogs. So of course these dogs have bred freely with each other and are something of a mixture these days.

The dogs of Chernobyl help with the study

But the dogs of Chernobyl present what's been called a 'golden opportunity' to understand how a genome, that's G E N O M E, a set of genetics copes with such extreme conditions as radiation.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

The results of this study are not back yet. The study is going to take quite a few more years to complete and draw its conclusions. But it's a really good example of how we can create something positive, some learning for the future, some understanding out of something horrific like the Chernobyl disaster.

I love the idea of re-wilding and how animals and nature do take over again, despite the challenges. I also love the fact that the dogs have survived, albeit in hard circumstances. And that many are still friendly towards humans and are able to aid scientists in their research. Don't you just love dogs?! I do, anyway. What a nice thought.


I hope you enjoy that one. Please listen to it a number of times until your understanding improves. There's quite a lot of vocabulary in this one to practise on.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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