Crying wolf – a little girls dream come true

Shania van der Ven (Intern)



Even as a little girl I already loved dogs and was fascinated by wolves, their wild ancestor. In fairytailes and stories, like red riding hood, I felt sad for the wolf always being portrayed as the bad guy. For how could an animal that lives so closely together with it’s family and depends on teamwork rather than individual hunting, really be that bad.

The history between Europe and the wolf can not be changed. It is even evident till this day in the behaviour of the animals, cautiousness to humans is baked into their DNA.  But these beautiful animals could still provide solutions to problems we created. As a keystone species, like seen in Yellowstone, they can change and thereby balance our bits and pieces of nature we still have left. When the wolf returned to my home country, the Netherlands, in 2016 I finally thought people would realise their importance. In an attempt to help, I wrote a small literature based research on the possibility of having the wolf inside a large nature park as natural predator to stop the ungulate overpopulation. My project stirred up different opinions and discussion with teachers and students. One person in particular saw my drive and interest in this topic and directed me to the Wolf Science Center.

When I first scanned over the webpage I didn’t believe my eyes. Comparative research on wolves and dogs, and not even that far away. I was instantly excited, but with the pandemic starting all was postponed and I had almost given up on the idea to apply for a scientific internship. With some pushing from my own pack (friends and family), I finally did apply and could not be more happy when the confirmation finally came in.

Everyday I’m here, I still almost can’t believe it. The countryside, the people, the nature, and ofcourse the animals, they are all amazing! I really can’t wait to start my research on reasoning by exclusion using the L-shaped tube paradigm in April. Additionally, I will love to find out the personalities of all the animals and to see the surroundings change over seasons during my stay here.