Statistics that I don't believe


No, not the tosh written by Mark Penn in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. I don’t think it needs to be dignified by a blog post. (If you need it, Scott Rosenberg has the definitive debunking, and Mickey Kaus has the best snark.) The statistic I’m skeptical about is in this week’s New Yorker: 

Profits from international wildlife smuggling, the Department of Justice has estimated, are second only to those from drug smuggling. 

That’s one snippet from a compelling article on invasive species in Florida, by Burkhard Bilger. Given the fame of The New Yorker’s fact-checking department, I have no doubt that the Justice department did make that estimate. I just can’t believe wildlife smuggling really places second as a profitable illegal activity to drugs. 

There’s another not credible statistic in the same article: “nearly a hundred million Americans own exotics [imported, exotic species]”. Can it really be that one in three Americans has a python, monitor lizard, capybara or mynah bird?  

Despite those slips, if you want to be horrified by what could be in your backyard if you lived in Florida, read the article. Burmese pythons are not your friends.

One thought on “Statistics that I don't believe

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