Noémie Despraz

August 2015 - February 2016

I come from a small village in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Since September 2015, I am doing my master in biology in Neuchâtel, which is a beautiful city, situated next to the lake of the same name. Since I was a little kid, I have always been attracted by nature, maybe due to all of my summer holidays spend in the Alps, walking around, looking at all of the flowers and the animals I could see. Having a big garden at home and living next to a forest also enhanced my love for the animals and the plants. My cat could even tell you that no matter how late I am, I will always stop to cuddle with her before going anywhere!

In Neuchâtel, I had a chance to specialize in evolution and biodiversity, as well as in Animal behavior. During this two years master, we all have to spend two semesters working on our master thesis. As my teacher said that we could study any animal we liked as long as we find people to supervise and follow our work, I took a chance and said that I had always been fascinated by wolves. Luckily for me, my teacher knows Friederike Range. I was then able to contact her and arrange my stay here at the WSC.

I have been here already for more than 3 months and it’s a real pleasure to work with the dogs and the wolves. They all have strong personalities and their own ways of doing things, that’s making each day a whole new unique adventure! My goal is to assess whether the dogs and or the wolves are prosocial. In other words, if they have the choice to choose between two locations, one that benefits another individual or one that is just benefit for them, what will they choose? As I have started doing the practical part of my thesis experiment, I can’t wait to see the results or at least some small cues of it!