German Psychology student Lea Nolte volunteers at Shy Wolf Sanctuary, Education and Experience Center during her summer vacation in the U.S.
An internet search for wolves led Lea to Shy Wolf Sanctuary. Eager to learn about the relationship between humans and wolves, Lea came for a visit in March. She “fell in love with this place” and signed up for orientation class to come back as a volunteer.
Founder Nancy Smith talks with Lea about her experience at Shy Wolf Sanctuary.
N: Who’s your favorite animal?
L: Besides all of them, Indy is my favorite with her gentle and soft. Chatty and Mia too.
N: What did you learn about the relationship between humans and wolves?
L: What I liked most is the clear and direct group behavior with wolves. And I really like their body language. Their socialization and group behavior is very similar to humans.
N: Generally speaking, did you find them (wolves) fearful at all?
L: No. Every animal has its story and triggers and its qualities, just as we do. So in the end, they’re not fearful at all. That’s why it’s called Shy Wolf.
N: Yes, they are very shy. They are very curious and very cautious.
L: I have to say I was never afraid of them. I’ve been cautious as well. I didn’t know them that well. The team was amazing, so they taught me everything about the animal and how to behave, how to react. It was great!
Lori: What are you going to take back with you to Germany and how will you spread the word about Shy Wolf Sanctuary?
L: I joined you on Facebook and I like the site. I’m going to talk about it with my friends and I talked to many people here in Naples about it and they thought it was amazing. So, yeah, I’m going to take that back to Germany and tell my friends and like you on Facebook. I’m going to share my pictures because I took so many of the animals, so that’s how I’m going to do that.
N: I was hoping maybe you could spread the word about how important wolves are with the environment.
L: Yes, and with education. There are so many fairy tales, so many wrong things about wolves and wolfdogs, so it is very important we get this clear.
N: Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood and Peter the Wolf did more to mess up the thoughts about wolves than anything.
L: It’s the big black dangerous wolf.
N: They don’t really want anything to do with people.
L: That’s why they are shy! Thank you for having me here.
N: Thank you for being here!