Going to the dogs: P-G reveals story cribbed Wikipedia entry | Slag Heap
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Going to the dogs: P-G reveals story cribbed Wikipedia entry

Posted By on Sat, Nov 7, 2009 at 2:06 PM

Oof.

Here's the sort of thing you hate to see in your Saturday morning paper. 

The corrections/clarifications section of today's Post-Gazette includes the following disclosure: "The last three paragraphs of a story Wednesday on African painted dogs were taken virtually verbatim and without attribution from wikipedia.org. This violates Post-Gazette and industry practices. The Post-Gazette regrets this incident and apologizes for it."

The story in question was written by Don Hopey, the paper's longtime environmental writer. At the time of this posting, the correction has not been noted in the online version of the story. The text currently reads as follows: 

The African painted dog, Lycaon pictus, also commonly called the painted hunting dog, African hunting dog, the Cape hunting dog, the spotted dog, or the painted wolf, is endangered by human population, habitat loss and hunting.

There were once approximately 500,000 African painted dogs in 39 countries, and packs of 100 or more were not uncommon. Now there are only about 3,000 to 5,000 in fewer than 25 countries.

In the wild, it is strongly affected by competition with larger carnivores that rely on the same prey base, particularly the lion and the spotted hyena. Lions often will kill as many wild dogs as they can but do not eat them. Hyenas usually follow them to steal their kills.

The original wikipedia article is here. The relevant portions of that entry appear below:

The African Wild Dog is a carnivore mammal. Found only in Africa, especially in savannas and other lightly wooded areas. It is also called the Painted Hunting Dog, African Hunting Dog, the Cape Hunting Dog, the Spotted Dog, or the Painted Wolf in English, Wildehond in Afrikaans, and Mbwa mwitu in Swahili ...

(snip)

There were once approximately 500,000 African Wild Dogs in 39 countries, and packs of 100 or more were not uncommon. Now there are only about 3,000-5,500 in fewer than 25 countries, or perhaps only 14 countries ...

(snip)

It uses very large territories (and so can persist only in large wildlife protected areas), and it is strongly affected by competition with larger carnivores that rely on the same prey base, particularly the lion and the Spotted Hyena. Lions often will kill as many wild dogs as they can but do not eat them. Hyenas usually follow them to steal their kills. 

Don Hopey's done some good stuff, and he's been doing it for a lot of years. Let's just hope the dogs are the only endangered mammals appearing in this story.

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