Care for Nature -
  Laetitia Becker

Laetitia Becker:

I need space, silence, peace, wildlife...


Could you please explain what the attraction and aim of working with wolves is?
Wolves are very attractive animals, not only because they are wonderful, but mainly because they are very interesting! For people interested in behaviour like me, wolves are a perfect subject of study because of their interactions. There is a lot of communication, contact and play within the group; all these make my observations very interesting. In general, the main of wolf study is to increase knowledge about this mysterious animal; because a good knowledge about wolves is the first step to a long-term cohabitation.
Where were you born? 
I was born in Strasbourg in France.
How old are you?
I am 25 years old.
Could you please tell me if you have any family? 
I have a big sister, a big brother and a twin sister.
What do they think of your work with wolves?
My family is happy as long as I am happy in my life and work. Of course, distance between us is not easy, but we keep contact by email. They know me and they knew I would do something like that in my life. I hope they are proud of my work.
Could you please explain your work with the wolves? What are you hoping to achieve with the wolves?
In 1993, Vladimir Bologov founded a program to rehabilitate orphan wolf pups. The wolves spend the hard and cold winter under our protection and are released at spring, like young wolves leave their parents in the wild. For my PhD work, I would like to write about the method used and its success. I am interested in the behaviour of wolves during their raising (how optimize their development and obtain animals ready to go back to the wild?) and after their releasing (how do the young wolves survive and how successful is the rehabilitation?). To analyze the success of rehabilitation, I take into account three criteria, characteristics of the adaptation of wolves to their environment: feeding on their own, fear of humans, integration or formation of a pack. Find an effective method of rearing and rehabilitating orphan wolf pups has several interests in the protection of species. On one hand, to help conservation of the grey wolf, this method could an alternative to reintroductions and movements of animals, which often bring damage and conflicts on their new territory. On the other hand, if the method proved to be reproducible for other canids, it could help many "wolves" around the world such as the Mexican wolf, the red wolf, and the maned wolf in America; the Ethiopian wolf and the African wild dog in Africa; or the dhole in Asia.
How have you prepared to work with the wolves?
I haven’t prepared to work with wolves and didn’t need any preparation.
What is it like to work with the wolves? 
Working with wolves is similar to any work with animals: you have to be quiet, patient, tolerant and respectful. Then wolves understand you’re not a danger for them and let you observe them in their daily life.
Are they ever intimidating? What are the greatest obstacles?
Wolves can intimidate each other, but their behaviour towards me is different. They display different behaviours, depending on the contact with human they had or not when they were young, from tame to wild.
How tough is each day?
My work is not tough as long as you are patient. With wild pups, long time is needed to make them accepted by you. But for me, it’s not tough; it’s a challenge and every small step closer day after day makes me fully happy!
What are your hopes for the wolves in the future?
I hope that all the pups that I took in charge (12 to date) and that went back to the wild, managed to survive. I hope the oldest ones already found a pack. In the future, for the next wolves I will release, I hope to find enough money to fit them with GPS collar. Then, I will be able to follow them and know how they live after releasing.
Do you ever see yourself returning home?
No. At present, I don’t feel I could be able to live in a high-civilized country any more. I need space, silence, peace, wildlife.