Sophie Beaurepaire

University AgroParisTech, Paris, France
Favourite wolf film Wolf Totem (directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud)

I can’t imagine working in an office all day long, sitting in front of a computer. Spending time outside in the nature undoubtedly plays a great part in my well-being and happiness! As a child, I could spend hours in the garden watching the water running, the ants carrying twigs or other stuffs to build their anthill, listening to the birds singing in the trees…. I always knew that I wanted to study something related to nature & animals. When I discover what a zoologist was, and especially an ethologist, I knew right away that this was my dream job. What a wonderful opportunity, to be paid to watch animal’s behaviors and try to understand them!

After 2 years of intensive classes in mathematics, physics and biology in Lyon, France; I managed to get into a great engineering school in Paris, specialized in life sciences, agriculture and environment (AgroParisTech). I’m now taking a gap year before starting my last year of master. This gap year is for me a great opportunity to explore new fields of study and get involved in things I really like.

I found out about the WSC while watching a documentary on Arte. This caught my attention, as it seemed to be a unique place for doing such experiments with wolves and dogs. I’d like to work with mammals, I’m fascinated by tigers, but there is unfortunately not so much research going on with them, and wolves are complex and interesting animals as well. I was very excited when I got accepted for a 6 months internship at the WSC. I’m working on a project on physiological stress in wolves. The aim is to compare the level of cortisol (a stress hormone) in the blood and in the saliva and see if there is any correlation. The correlation has already been found in dogs, but nothing has been done in wolves, which makes the project new and exciting. I’m here for 2 weeks now and we are at the moment trying to find some food that does not interfere with the measurement of cortisol in the saliva. If we succeed we will then be able to move to the next step with blood samplings: so fingers crossed!