I arrived at the WSC 3 weeks ago but I have already had so many experiences that I have the feeling, that I have lived here forever. Especially in the beginning, everything seemed new and exciting but I would like to tell you about my most important experience at the WSC.
On day two, I was supposed to join a wolf walk. This is a visitor program, where people can go on a walk with a wolf, a trainer and one student. The wolf Amarok was supposed to come with us on the walk. He is known as ‘the Grinch’, and is famous of destroying everything and of doing a lot of mischief. But at this time I didn’t know anything about his character.
The first 5 minutes were similar to a normal walk with a dog on a leash. But that changed very fast. I started to ask myself, who was in control. The trainer or the wolf? If Amarok stopped, then the whole group stopped. If Amarok tried to destroy a rubbish bin, then the trainer convinced him that the food in her hands was more interesting.
So, Amarok decided to have a closer look at the people, which were walking with him. But he didn’t join the visitors. He came to me. I was very surprised, because suddenly a wet nose touched the skin of my hand. It seems like Amarok wanted to say ‘hello’ or maybe he wanted to find out who I am and where I came from.
Maybe he only smelled the sausage on my hands that I cut before or smelled something else interesting on me. But I will never forget, that Amarok decided to touch my hand and not the hands of the visitors.
The moment was over very quickly. Maybe Amarok lost interest in my hand or he found out that I didn’t have any sausage. I finished my first walk with a wolf without any further contact.
The next few days I spent every free minute outside to observe the wolf packs. It didn’t take long till somebody explained the observer program to me. It is a smart phone with a program which can collect all behaviours of the animals. This is especially important if you want to find out something about the the hierarchy in the pack. So I did my first ‘real’ observations. And of course I started with the wolves but after I had spent a lot of time with them I decided to start with the dogs as well. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be as exciting as observing wolves.
But my fist observation with the dogs was completely different than I expected. The dogs in the pack act completely different than normal pet dogs. Thy are especially behaving completely different than the wolves. The dogs, for example, are interested in every person, whom is coming to their enclosure. The wolves are not. They don’t seem to care about humans passing outside their enclosure. I am looking forward to learn a lot more about these differences.
Now I don’t have much time for observations anymore, because I start with my own project soon. This is something that takes a lot of time, but it is at least as exciting as watching wolves. And there is still a lot to learn.
Sometimes I sit in front of the WSC test house and watch Amarok in his enclosure. I ask myself: ‘Does he remember our first contact?‘ Because sometimes I still feel the wet nose on my hand.