"Finding Nemo" Characters Under Threat of Extinction

January 27, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. extinction (n.) [ik-stingk-shuhn]  – (in biology) the death, loss or disappearance of an entire species or population
Example: The extinction of dinosaurs happened 65 million years ago.

2. defy all odds (idiom)  [dih-fahy awl odz]  – to succeed against difficult challenges or situations
Example: He defied all odds by surviving the car crash.

3. teem (v.) [teem] – to be abundant or many
Example: The forest teems with beautiful, hundred-year-old trees.

4. denizen (n.) [den-uh-zuhn] – one that lives in a certain place; a resident
Example: The denizens of the apartment building welcomed the new comer.

5. array (n.) [uh-rey] – a large and impressive group of things
Example: The variety show featured an array of famous performers.

Read the text below.

A study finds that a number of well-liked sea creatures in the movie “Finding Nemo” are actually in danger of extinction.

The Disney/Pixar animated film "Finding Nemo" touched audiences with its story about a clownfish defying all odds to save his son who has become a victim of the aquarium industry.

However, unlike the movie that teems with colorful and lively undersea animals, 16% of the creatures featured in the movie face the threat of extinction in their actual habitat as revealed in a study by scientists from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Canada’s Simon Fraser University. Popular sea denizens like sharks, manta rays and turtles are in even more danger.

An array of reasons has contributed to the decrease in these species, such as the high demand in Asia for shark meat, illegal animal trade, and commercial development that destroys the homes of marine life.

Although the movie’s message was about marine life conservation, the demand for clownfish in the aquarium industry boomed after the movie came out. According to IUCN, the “Nemo” clownfish is not in danger yet, but the survival of 18% of other clownfish-related species is already threatened.

Marine biologist Boris Worm says that people might have interpreted how to care for these creatures the wrong way. Instead of trying to preserve sea animals in their natural environment, people would rather own or keep the animals for personal enjoyment.

Co-author of the study Nicholas Dulvy says the research on “Nemo” emphasizes the difficulty of saving popular sea creatures. Despite people’s conservation efforts, human interest in them is also preventing their growth at the same time.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

     Do you think movies about animals can help in wildlife conservation efforts? Please explain your answer.
     In what other ways can people promote wildlife conservation?

Discussion B

      Is it important to protect marine animals? Why or why not?
     How would humans be affected if many sea animals go through extinction?


January 27, 2012