Crowdfund UC Davis thanks all of the donors who gave to this important project in February. This campaign has closed, but you can still support our program by making a donation.

Personality and Problem-Solving in Gray Wolves

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
51 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on February 28, at 11:59 PM PST
Project Owners

Winter is Over... What's Next?

June 07, 2024
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

A Winter Wolf Project Update

February 29, 2024
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

That's A Wrap on Summer Trials at Oakland Zoo

July 28, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

The Wolves Meet Their Puzzle Boxes!

July 07, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

First Look at the Novel Objects

May 26, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

Pilot Testing

April 20, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

Visit to the California Wolf Center

April 06, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

First Look at the Puzzle Box Prototype

March 15, 2023
Backers Only: Only backers of this project can see this update. If you are a backer please to see this update.

A tail of two wolf packs… the story is just beginning!

February 28, 2023

As of 7:45 am this morning, with the help of an anonymous hero that helped us get over the finish line, we have reached our goal of $5,000!! 

Thanks to YOUR donations we will be able to create novel objects and puzzle boxes for the gray wolves!! On behalf of the entire research team, including the wolves, we thank you!

To all of our donors - you have helped make this research possible, and your investment in this project means you get to play an active role in answering all of our research questions. You will continue to receive special project updates, including information on when the puzzle boxes are built and when the wolves first lay their paws on it! 

And to those of you who shared and re-posted about the project, you are AWESOME!! We are truly touched at how the Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook communities supported our campaign. You are welcome to visit the Animal Behavior & Cognition Lab on Twitter or Instagram to get updates on the progress of the research, and we encourage you to visit Oakland Zoo and California Wolf Center to see the wolves! 

Photo by: California Wolf Center

Last chance to GIVE to the wolves!

February 27, 2023

THANK YOU for 87% - we are FUR-ever grateful for each and every one of our 46 donors who have helped us make it this far!! We are also blown away by how far our project has been reaching. Looking at our donor wall, we see support coming from 10 different states across the United States! 

We are in the final STRETCH - our campaign will close tomorrow at midnight! Please help us raise the remaining 13% so that we can reach our funding goal! When you become a backer for this campaign, all of our donors will continue to receive project updates as the study progresses (which includes the first look at our novel objects and puzzle boxes!). Every dollar and share goes directly to the wolves and towards increasing our understanding of their behavior on an individual level, advancing animal welfare science, and enhancing our knowledge of carnivore personality and cognition. 

Photo by: California Wolf Center

Only FIVE days left - please lend a paw today!

February 23, 2023

We are honored to have the support of 39 donors for our wolf personality & problem-solving study. With your generous donations, you are helping make this research become paw-sible! But, time is ticking… there are only five days to go before our campaign ends and we are $985 from meeting our funding goal. A gift of any size will make a huge difference - wolves are strong and powerful animals, and for this social species we need to ensure each wolf has their own novel object and puzzle box! 

Today, we are continuing our Q&A series with the care staff at Oakland Zoo and California Wolf Center. There are a number of misconceptions about gray wolves and by supporting this project you are also helping to raise awareness about this important keystone species. Thank you for considering donating to our project! And don't forget to share with your family & friends a new wolf fact you have learned from today's post!

Q&A with the Keepers: “What does this research mean to you?”

February 21, 2023

We are SO thankful to everyone that has donated and helped us reach 80% of our funding goal! We are entering the 7-day countdown to the end of our crowdfunding campaign and we NEED you now more than ever. Every dollar counts!! Help us raise the final 20% so that the gray wolves can get their puzzle boxes! 

In the final days of our crowdfunding campaign, we want you to hear from the people that work with the gray wolves everyday! We asked the animal care staff at Oakland Zoo and California Wolf Center what excites them about this project and what animal behavior research means to them. Check out their responses below, and stay tuned for the second-part to this series! 

We Are Howling With Happiness! Thank YOU for 79%

February 17, 2023

No time for resting, ‘Anza’ ! Look, we are closer than ever to reaching our goal!! We are overwhelmed with the amount of support so far that has helped us reach this major milestone. Every dollar is an investment in wolf personality and cognition research, as well as for zoo science.

Conducting research provides zoological institutions and conservation centers with data that can be used to better understand the behavior of the animals under their care. Understanding an animal’s personality, for example, can give us insight in which individuals tend to seek out opportunities to engage in novel challenges and exhibit more risk-taking behaviors, and which are slower to respond to environmental change and tend to prefer more stable routines.

Do you think ‘Anza's' personality would make her faster at solving the puzzle box challenge? Help us find out! Our crowdfunding campaign is still live for 11 more days, and we can see the finish line! Please consider becoming a backer today!

Photo by: Yasmeen Ghavamian

Happy Valentine's Day!

February 14, 2023

We would like to invite you to share the LOVE on this Valentine's Day - a gift of $5, $10 or even $15 dollars will make a BIG difference in helping us reach our funding goal and build the puzzle boxes for the wolves!! 

All donors will receive a special Wolf Valentine's Gram from us! 

Howly Moly! We reached 50% of our funding goal!!

February 13, 2023

We are SO thankful to everyone who has donated and shared this research project far & wide! Your donations will not only help build the novel objects and problem-solving boxes that will make this research possible, but the impact you are making in the wolf conservation world is tremendous! 

The gray wolf, once widespread across the United States, was all but eliminated from their natural habitat by the mid-1920s due to human-wildlife conflict and habitat loss. Due to legislative acts and extensive recovery efforts, the gray wolf population has successfully increased in the last decade. Wolves have even started returning to California and establishing territories; California is currently home to three known gray wolf packs (the Lassen, Beckwourth, and Whaleback packs)! As of February 10, 2022, gray wolves in the contiguous 48 states and Mexico – with the exception of the Northern Rocky Mountain population – are now protected under the Endangered Species Act as threatened in Minnesota and endangered in the remaining states (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service). 

One of the ways you can take action today to help protect wolves is by supporting wolf behavior research - we still are 50% of the way from reaching our goal and we need you now more than ever! Your generous donations are also supporting the missions of our collaborators at Oakland Zoo and the California Wolf Center. Through research, education, conservation, and collaboration with the ranching community, we can ensure the future of wolves!

Photo by: Yasmeen Ghavamian

Did You Know? Wolves have highly complex social systems!

February 08, 2023

The social structure of a wolf pack consists of the breeding pair, their offspring, and other relatives. In the wild, the average pack size can get up to 12 members! These pack numbers support their cooperative breeding and collaborative hunting behaviors. But, wolves are also all about play behaviors. These play behaviors are important in reducing the amount of aggression within the pack, establishing dominance, and maintaining the structure of the pack! 

We want to know: will the bold or the shy wolves be more likely to collaborate on a problem-solving task? We are still accepting donations for our campaign through the month of February! Paw-lease consider making a gift or sharing, we are so so close to the half-way point! Your support and donations will help us get one step (or paw) closer to understanding social learning in gray wolves.

Photo by: Yasmeen Ghavamian

We reached 35% of our funding goal! Thank you!

February 03, 2023

We are on the move… just like ‘Sequoia’ exploring his habitat at Oakland Zoo’s California Trail! Thank you for helping us reach 35% of our funding goal!! With your support, we are getting one step closer to investigating personality traits such as boldness and exploration in this species, but we still have a long way to go! Every gift and share of this project page will make a difference in supporting carnivore research, and enhancing our knowledge of wolf behavior and management practices. 

Photo by: Yasmeen Ghavamian

Choose a giving level


You are paw-some!

Your gift of $25 can be used to purchase stainless steel fixtures and fittings that will provide structure to and allow us to safely secure all of the objects and puzzle boxes.


You are fur-nomenal!

Your thoughtful donation of $50 can go towards additional prototype parts such as metal turntables to allow for object rotation or non-toxic shock-absorbing rubber seals for a ‘wobble’ device.


Awooo! We appreciate youuu!

Your $100 contribution can assist in the implementation of novel objects such as through the purchase of PVC pipes at bulk price or three Boomer Balls!


Howly - moly! Thank you!

Your generous donation of $250 will help our team build half of the foundation for a single puzzle box, which needs to be both weather-proof & wolf-safe!


We Are Furever Grateful!

Your extraordinary donation of $500 will support the additional replicates we need to make to ensure that each wolf has their own object and puzzle box.

Our Crowdfunding Groups