Lucia Moretti

August 2011 – September 2012
University Università degli Studi di Torino/ Italy.
Project at the WSC The influence of the social relationship on neophobia in canids with wolves and dogs in comparison
Favourite animal at the WSC Kenai

My project is to perform a „Novel Object Test“ : i.e. an object, which was never seen before by the animal, is placed in the enclosure. Then the animal gets 15 minutes of time to explore the object. Each animals is tested in three different settings: alone, as a pair - with a pack member each time - and with the whole pack. The aim is to recognize, whether the animals are rather frightened by a new object, when they are alone, two by two or in the pack. Furthermore it should be found out, whether the relationship between the two animals (siblings/not related, dominant/submissive, male/female) has a positiv or negative influence on the neophobia-threshold of the animals. Finally it will be compared, whetzer there is a difference between wolves and dogs.

Most of all I enjoy the possibility to watch the wolves from a close perspective or to have direct contact with them - at work and at the pack visits. In the different tests  also have the possibility to learn more about cognitive science by the different tests.

Why I started to like Kenai the most, is not really clear. Perhaps, because he is big and white and he always seems to wait for a hug. But with certainity I can say, that I'm not his favourite student. As I put according to one of my tests a straw doll into his enclosure, he's afraid of me and doesn't approach any more at me.

I came to the WSC to write my master thesis. I study behavioural evolution and since ever I was fascinated by wolves. Therefore I decided to learn more about their social behaviour and the interaction with their surroundings at the WSC. At the WSC I furthermore have the possibility to compare the wolf with his successor, the dog.

I heard about the WSC in 2008 by one of my teachers at the University of Triest, where I finished my bachelor in biology. Since then I followed up the blogs and the news on the homepage of the WSC. Finally I decided to try my luck and to ask, whether it would be possible to write my master thesis her. And here I am!

I like taking pictures and have already a number of wolf fotos (in particular from Kenai). Some of them can be found on this homepage!