We got a lot of heat for this essay about problematic wolf-hunting laws in Wyoming. Which, fine! Glad we could start a discussion. As a followup, here's a nice visual representation of all the threats facing cattle in the United States--if you'll notice, wolves are not exactly on the top of that list. Much of the motivation for the laws allowing wolf-hunting in states like Wyoming (though this is national data) come from an assumption that wolves are a major problem for cattle ranchers--that wolves are responsible for significant so-called "unintended" cattle loss. "Unintended" cattle loss, by the way, is the term the USDA uses for cattle who die before they are killed in slaughterhouses.
The data does not support that assumption.
This data comes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the infographic was made by the Sierra Club.
You of course failed to mention that, according to the comments at least, you ("we") got more heat for the childish, whiny, name-calling, peeing-your-pants way you wrote the essay than for the stance itself. If I'd disagreed with the stance you took in your pathetic, swearing, hate-filled attempt at journalism, I wouldn't be swayed by the essay. If I'd agreed with the stance, I'd be ashamed to make it public.
So if you look at where they pulled the graphic from and look down below it, there is a disclaimer. The .2% that they're pointing at represents a national average. The percentage for Montana is 2.86% and Wyoming is 1.76%. While yes it's not as high as say respiratory or digestive, it's still much higher than .2%. Also, if they didn't allow hunting, the wolf population would balloon with the easy meal that cattle present.
To echo the last post, I have more issue with your profanity laced ramblings than the veracity of your claims. Which most of the time are sketchy at best. Please research your information better before you begin to type.
Apparently you don't know anything about hunting. Wyoming and other states, including New York, regulate hunting. That means if you want to hunt deer, elk, moose, antelope, ducks, geese, cougars, and now wolves, you have to buy a permit. You can only hunt the allotted number granted by your permit. It's called wildlife management and it's a necessary part of modern society since we're not hunter-gatherers anymore and we have to co-exist with the fauna around us. It's hard to comprehend for someone who isn't fully aware that there's a large continent to the west of Manhattan, but wildlife management is humane. Sometimes the gritty details of maintaining national forests and parks and their wildlife is a little too real for squeamish city-dwellers, but the virtue of the system is that it limits the number of animals, which also reduces the number of them that would otherwise die of starvation, which is a particularly gruesome way to perish that entails a lot of suffering.
So be glad that we have adopted a more enlightened view of wolves that allows them to thrive enough that they are no longer endangered and are back to being the occasional pests of farmers and ranchers.
Looks like the Sierra Club's page with the infographic is more informative, stating in its Editor's note that the data is for the entire United States. I'd like to see these percentages redone drawing data from only states where wolves are indeed a threat.
Seems like the percentages might be different, just saying.
YAY @3ddraft and @laurenra7!!! I could not have said it better myself. Was gonna point out the realities of data manipulation and making it say what they want when it serves their purpose... and that so many people have no idea what proper game/land/resource management really entails. Too many people are easily swayed by one opinion/poll/study, and fail to do any real digging or research to find out the truth/root of an issue. And of course inflammatory ill-informed articles, like the one(s) our humble author has been known to write, do little to help improve peoples' knowledge and understanding of any issue or topic of discussion.
3ddraft beat me to my original main point, well worded 3ddraft.
In addition I'd like to point out that often the numbers for wolf kills only reflect the portion of kills the ranchers can find. Some of the cattle are never found because they have been consumed completely or their remains have been moved to a location the farmers can't access.
I agree wholeheartedly with AccountName.
Here's how big a problem your infographic's obvious bias is:
Wolves are a LOCAL problem that are only an issue in a very small section of the country (generally around Yellowstone and in Alaska) whereas your ranching data is from the entire country, which of course makes the "wolf problem" seem very small.
This is like comparing traffic problems in LA to the nation's traffic problems and declaring that they don't have anything to worry about because nationally, we're all driving around just fine.
"Ludicrous and misleading." That's how Popular Science journalism works and is the reason I don't bother subscribing to your publication anymore.
The jury's vote is in. Guilty on misuse of statistics. Guilty on poor journalism. Guilty of whining about being called on it the first time. Guilty of having nothing really to do with "Popular Science", no matter how you feel about the wolves issue.
The authors don't do themselves any favors for their journalistic career with this stuff.
And PopSci is against people stopping the rest of those too?
My gosh. This is irresponsible journalism at its worse. I am biologist who grew up and lives in Montana. This is a serious important discussion that we need to have here. In Montana. (And the surrounding states too of course!) Not in the author's current home of Brooklyn New York (www.facebook.com/dan.nosowitz/info). It is obvious that this author has never taken a scientific statistics course and has no understanding of how grave a sin statistical bias is when discussing science. More alarming, the only credentials the author has is an undergraduate in english literature! (www.popsci.com/category/popsci-authors/dan-nosowitz) We have no proof that he has EVER taken a science course. How does this qualify him to write for a science publication!?
Please, despite this being a "popular" science website, the actual data is important. Check your facts more carefully rather than just piggy-backing off a small post on another site. In addition, the writing style you have used in the past may be acceptable on your blogs and possibly even in your essays as an English major, but they have no place in any even remotely scientific discussion. It is a shame because your opinions may (I repeat may) have merit, it is your responsibility as a journalist to have an educated opinion and to promote your opinion in a respectful manner. I suggest you quickly adapt or find a new job.
This man is having a terrible effect on your reputation. I pains me to wish this upon someone and even more to say it, but Dan Nozowitz should be fired. His writing and journalism style is probably more suited for a TMZ or someother junk media.
In response to chezmanq I have family in Montana and have visited there many times. No doubt about it life for most people out there is very different than from my hometown in southern CT. To be honest I don't think Dan really has a clue about how much different life can be in different places in the country. On the other hand I disagree that you must take science classes to write to for a popular science publisher. The purpose of a site like this is mainly to inform people who are interested in science but are not necessarily well- educated in any science. He does however, need to learn how to write in a less- biased way.
Nice graphic which makes the point well. Sometimes pictures are best for simple folk. I suppose that they should start issuing permits to hunt domestic dogs too! I'm sure hunters would jump at the chance.
Hopefully Dan will stay on this and bring us regular stories about the good work done by these gun-happy folks.
Wow! How is this guy is still working? I feel we need a restaining order after his last "factually abusive" article, now he's been allowed to come back and slap us again with this one.
Since he's a fan of renaming his crap "discussions", let's "start a discussion" with the 14,000 unemployed journalists out there, surely someone has a resume' to send in to PopSci. Unbelievable!
Yes, Dan missed the point entirely. He should be distancing himself from that train wreck. Instead he is leaning into it. How sad.
Enjoyed your comment FarOutMan... Dan couldn't have said it better himself. :)
Off topic, but I'd like to see an infographic on homicide in the U.S. so that politicians could see that more people are killed with hands and feet than rifles (including the dreaded assault variety).
i want to thank the commenters for stepping in to correct the misleading infographic you guys help me see through the fog
I live in eastern Montana, my family is mostly full of current and former farmers and ranchers who think reintroducing wolves into the lower 48 United States was a dumb treehugger move.
Myself, I see the benefits to the local ecosystem of having wolves present to keep the populations of other species in check. I grew up being taken to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks, as well as many museums and zoos, and I have been a subscriber to National Geographic for most of my life, enjoying especially the articles about wildlife. I am not anti-conservation.
One cannot blindly vote for the rights of wolves, however, and suppress the evidence, or twist it, to support the mostly metropolitan view that all animals everywhere should be protected all the time; in this case you, Mr. Nosowitz, are willfully misleading to support your agenda of protecting an endangered species.
It is not honest to imply that your infographic supports the claim that wolves are not a threat to livestock in any one state when the statistics you're using are nationwide, since wolf populations are not present nationwide, and indeed are present in only a small number of states currently.
Further, to put up the dollar figure as X-millions of dollars and then dismiss that as insignificant is, I suppose, probably comparing it with the the total cattle market nationwide. The problem with this approach being that not all the cattle ranchers in the U.S. share one big budget of profits and expenses. To the large operator who has deep pockets, no, maybe that much money isn't such a big deal. But not all cattle ranchers can afford to lose livestock to wolves. Consider that.
As for wolves being dangerous to humans or not, I think you may have been raised on too many Disney cartoons that portrayed animals as being able to talk and being always the friends of people. These are not your pet wolves however, sir. And I think you'd do well to ask yourself why an animal that can hunt and kill the American Bison is safe to you and I.
The fact is Dan is an idiot. Ponder this, Danny. If a thief points a gun at you and only steals $10 out of your wallet loaded with a thousand dollars, is that acceptable to you? Would you just ignore it and go merrily on your way?
Your graphic has been proven false for calculating the death loss across the whole country. It isn't even acceptable to calculate it state wide in Montana given that so few cattle are exposed to wolves. The only way to know what the loss truly is as a percent of all other issues is to know for each individual rancher what HIS death loss is by each calamity. A given rancher may not have ANY death loss due to weather or domestic dogs or calving problems. You can't possibly know for any given rancher what burden he is being forced to bear by wolves killing his animals nor can you begin to know his ability to bear those costs.
You being mugged for a $1,000 may be less burdensome to you than a homeless man being robbed of $5. You have no right to tell the homeless man to just suck it up its only $5 bucks.
I take back calling you an idiot....its far to generous for the level of stupidty you have displayed.
RANCHERS, my hat's off to you! Having your herds chased and scattering any all times of the day or night after extended periods of howling, having them chased over rodent holes and across freezing rivers, moms being separated from their calves or not even allowed to fully give birth. There is so much more havoc a wolf pack brings to your herds the chart doesn't even come close to painting. Our armchair liberals will never get the full picture of the situation you deal with daily so today I will order a giant hamburger & salute you! :)
By Dan's ignorant logic, the people in Chicago should just shut up because the murder rate in 2011 in the Nation was only 4.7/100,000.....of course the city of Chicago was 15.7/100,000 but what difference does that make if you aren't one of the additional 11 people killed? Its exponentially worse if you look at the rate of African Americans killed in Chicago.
No need to worry about murders in Chicago, Danno. Things are just fine in the nation. Dolt!
PopScience should be ashamed to even post his worhtless drivel.
So that's why cow heel soup is so expensive. Damn wolves. lol
This is PoPSCi website\blog and Dan is the assistant editor. Wouldn't it just be so funny, all those insulting Dan found their login not working tomorrow....
Wouldn't it be priceless if an executive editor realized they made huge mistake naming an assistant editor that is using his position as a platform to grind an axe while displaying an abundance of arrogance, ignorance, and careless research and actually fired him?
Really Robot... Priceless??
The way PopSci is headed, there may not be a login left for them to tamper with. Perhaps Dan is a nephew of the editor, perhaps they're roommates, either way it's 2013, there's got to be a science website that doesn't coddle shoddy journalists. just sayin' ..snort
Ahh after a funny conversation with a moron (FarOutMan) I now see myself as Fotobum and Cussnu...congratulations guys you are now me for the use of ellipses. Oh and for Cussnu's use of spacing different thoughts.
Cripes, wolves account for .02% in 50 states but live in only 8 to 13 states (depending on who you ask and not including AK because range cattle's not raised there, maybe for a good reason). How about some statistics on cattle predation in only the relevant states?