On which species does the Leibniz-IZW conducted research and why?
The research of the Leibniz-IZW focuses on mammals and birds, which pose special challenges to the conservation, as well as on animal species
- with outstanding ecological importance as keystone species for the functioning of important ecosystems;
- at the centre of land use conflicts (conflict species);
- with an important function for the protection of habitats (umbrella species);
- which are suitable flagship species to promote the idea of nature conservation and sustainable use of natural resources;
- with indicator function for threats to the diversity and function of ecosystems (indicator species);
- with unique evolutionary adaptations ("exemplary species"); and
- which allow new concepts and methods to be studied before they are applied to threatened populations or species (model species).
These species include
- large predators, elephants, rhinoceroses, bats, hoofed animals and sea eagles, in which the Leibniz-IZW has acquired special expertise. These species have developed complex and poorly understood adaptations, and they often react sensitively to disturbances and anthropogenic changes in their habitat. Owing to the deterioration of their current conditions of existence, many of these wildlife species have an important indicator function for the global threat to the diversity of life and the impact on the functional composition of natural habitats (biodiversity).
- (in particular) mammal species from the Southeast Asian region, to which the Leibniz-IZW has devoted itself intensively over the last ten years, as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identified the endangerment of large Southeast Asian animals (mammals and reptiles) as one of the three most important endangered species groups (major extinction crises) alongside amphibian and coral extinction in 2009.
- Mammalian and bird species that have successfully established themselves in large cities and thus serve as examples of species that can colonize new habitats shaped by humans.
In addition to working with wild populations and captive wild animals, the Leibniz-IZW also has a field research station. There, the Leibniz-IZW breeds roe deer and hares for scientific studies. Keeping these animals is very demanding and is therefore not done in other institutions. Since 2010 the institute also keeps a colony of Alpine Marmots there, since 2017 also bats. The field research station offers the opportunity for experiments on wild animals under controlled conditions.