Steffen does not hallucinate

1858 • • • 2011• • • 2018

In autumn 2011, I was on my way back from the steppe to Astana, Kazakhstan's capital. For one last night we camped in the wilderness. When I crawled out of my tent very early the next morning, I saw a dog's muzzle looking out from behind the tent. Was I still dreaming? I bent over a bit and there was a four-legged friend standing in the middle of the camp! However, this friend was no dog. It was a full-grown wolf exploring our camp site in complete peace of mind. He was neither shy nor in a hurry. He just trotted between the tents and let my colleague take his picture. Finally, he disappeared into the wilderness, leaving us a parting gift of a fresh pile of dung. A great experience, I had never met a wild wolf before.

Steffen Zuther is a geoecologist and our project manager in Kazakhstan. He is researching the Saiga antelopes, which have experienced strong population fluctuations in recent years.