Reintroducing wolves to areas where they have already been exterminated seems to have reduced car accidents involving deer by about 25 percent.
huh? What? Is this one of those “correlation does not equal causation” memes?
Not at all.
scientist in wisconsin data is collected To learn about road collisions and wolf movements in the state, how the arrival of wolves affected the frequency of deer-auto collisions.
“In a very short period of time, once wolves colonize a county, deer vehicle collisions are reduced by about 24 percent,” said Dominic Parker, a natural resource economist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and co-author of his new study. said the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
You might say, “Well, of course — wolves eat deer, fewer deer means fewer confrontations.” But it’s a little more subtle than that. The scientists found that reintroducing wolves led to what scientists call a “scenario of fear.”
“When you have a dominant predator, it affects how the prey behaves,” Parker said. “Wolves use linear features of a landscape as travel corridors, such as roads, pipelines and stream beds. Deer learn this and can adapt by living far away.”
just one study
Now, of course, this is just one study, and not everyone is adopting it – for example, farmers and ranchers who don’t like the reproduction of predators that can kill their livestock or the animals they raise. Can add to the cost of protecting. .
“People who value the existence of wolves are often not in the same communities where wolves exist,” Jennifer Raynor said, Parker’s collaborator and co-author. “Urban wildlife lovers may rejoice to know that wolves are out there, but rural people tend to see carcasses of livestock and pets.”
Deer-vehicle collisions “are happening in both urban and rural areas,” Raynor said. “No one is escaping this problem” – which means rural people are also benefiting from the wolves, whether they realize it or not.
Average, 19,757 Wisconsin residents Each year they collide with deer, causing about 477 injuries and eight deaths. Wolves save the state $10.9 million in damages each year, the scientists determined—63 times more than the total compensation paid for the loss of livestock or pets.
The average cost of a cattle-strike claim under comprehensive coverage for the 2001–14 model during the calendar year 2004–13 was $2,730. That’s a hefty price tag but still less than the average payment of $3,510 for a collision claim, Highway Loss Data Institute has been found.
more research needed
Guillaume Chapron at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, who studies large carnivores, says the team did not provide enough information about their statistical methods, the degree of uncertainty in their results, or how to replicate their analysis.
“They may have found a new dimension to the role played by wolves, but their paper makes a critical evaluation of their findings impossible,” he told. “I’m sure it will be favored by wolf advocates, but very little by statisticians.”
Look at Natural Risk Mitigation
More research is clearly needed before anyone can begin advocating for the large-scale reintroduction of wolves into populated areas toward reducing auto insurance claims and premiums. But the study highlights an area that insurers are paying more attention to: natural risk mitigation.
For example, there has been an increased interest in the restoration of natural ecosystems – such as mangrove forests and coral reefs – Can reduce insured damages caused by hurricanes caused by hurricanes.
in many places, mangroves They are the first line of defense, their aerial roots help reduce erosion and eliminate storm surge. a healthy Coral reef A wave can lose up to 97 percent of its energy before hitting the shore. Reefs – especially those that have been weakened by pollution, disease, overfishing and ocean acidification – can be damaged by severe storms, reducing the protection they provide for coastal communities.
in Florida, a recent study found, mangroves alone prevented $1.5 billion in direct flood damage and protected more than half a million people during Hurricane Irma in 2017, reducing damage by about 25 percent. another study found that mangroves actively prevent more than $65 billion in property damage and protect more than 15 million people worldwide each year.
Communities, businesses and families looking to reduce losses and their associated costs should look closely at natural, pre-emptive mitigation.
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