Cynthia de Jong

March 2015 - August 2015
Favourite animal at the WSC Chitto and Imara

Hello, my name is Cynthia and I am a Bachelor student from the Netherlands. Since a long time I have been very interested in dogs and wolves: reading every book, every internet page, about their behaviour, their appearance, genetics, anatomy, etc. Sadly, I have not been able to get my own dog but I hope to fulfill this dream in the nearby future! When it was time for me to search for an internship, I knew I wanted it to be with wolves and dogs. The day I got the answer that I was able to do my internship at the Wolf Science Center I was so happy!

At the WSC I did a follow-up of the risktaking study. Since the wolves and pack dogs were already tested by previous students, I started testing the pet dogs. I loved working with them and I am looking forward to the results! Via an apparatus the animals had to choose either the left side or the right side by touching the target with their nose or paw. On one side there was nothing. On the other side was either a stone or a piece of sausage. Both the stone and sausage were shown to the animal beforehand but the animal would not know if it would get the stone or the sausage. So will the animals choose the ‘safe’ side (where nothing lies) or the ‘risky’ side (either a stone or sausage)? As a side project, I continued testing the wolves with the ambiguity test. This is very similar to the risktaking, but with the ambiguity factor. Here there is also a ‘safe’ side with nothing, whereas the other side stays covered and the possibilities for the outcome is unknown.

I loved spending my time here, the community is wonderful and some friendships will last even after I leave this place. Getting to know and working with the animals was an amazing experience and I am so glad I got this opportunity! It was really hard for me to pick a favourite animal.. but Chitto was the first wolf I got in contact with, that makes him extra special. Imara is just a sweetheart, if I could I would take her home!