'Researchers using puzzle boxes, rain sticks and papier-mâché balls are
studying captive gray wolves at the Oakland Zoo and the California Wolf Center
to evaluate personality and problem-solving skills of the endangered animals.
The novel research out of University of California, Davis, which also
incorporates hundreds of hours of video and observational surveys, is seeking
to shed new light on the lives of gray wolves, how they interact as part of a
pack and respond to strange, new things
The hope is to enhance the quality of life for wolves in captivity and learn
more about the species. The findings could also help ranchers deter wolves from
livestock in the wild.
For many people, the wolves they know are villains from fairy tales or pests
that were hunted during the early days of the country, but gray wolves are
notoriously neophobic, or afraid of new things, and they have been a protected
endangered species for more than 45 years.
The work out of the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis could create a
more well-rounded picture about gray wolves.
"If we learn what the wolves are fearful of, no matter their personality type,
we can use this knowledge to prevent human-wildlife conflict," Kristina
Horback, an associate professor and director of the Animal Behavior and
Cognition Lab, said about the research.'
Via Christoph S.
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics