Behavioral observation at WSC

Florian Schriebl (Intern)



For three months now I have been working as a scientific intern at the WSC and to be honest, this is rather unusual. The question of why is quickly explained, because this six-month internship forms the conclusion of my six-year veterinary medicine studies at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna with a focus on Conservation Medicine.

I have been interested in the way of life of wolves for years and even before I started my studies I informed myself about the activities of the WSC. At the beginning of 2020, during my studies, I had the opportunity to talk in detail with the animal trainers about their daily work, current projects and the handling of the animals during a walk with a wolf at the WSC. This day left a lasting impression as well as reinforced my desire to write my final thesis at the WSC. And what can I say, almost exactly two years later, I am now actually a part of the WSC.

One of my first core activities in the research environment is documenting and closely observing the behavior of the new puppies that came to WSC a few weeks ago. These records are an important part of my research, which focuses on the feeding tolerance of dogs and wolves. Simply described, this involves observing dog and wolf pups in pairs of two to see if they are considerate of each other during feeding or if they compete over food.

During the extensive observation phases, I gradually became increasingly aware of the nature of the individual dog pups. This even goes so far that with each week one becomes more aware of the personal character of each animal and thus the differences between the puppies become more and more visible to me.

The first days at the WSC were very unfamiliar for me. The environment was completely new and many of the activities I did for the first time in my life. As time went on and I got to know the trainers and staff, the quite strenuous and intense observation periods became easier for me and a certain family atmosphere set in. I am very excited about the upcoming activities and topics during the rest of my internship and of course also about the results of the research work.