Welcome to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research!

Willkommen am Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW)! Deutsche Version der IZW-Webseite.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to developing the scientific basis for novel approaches to wildlife conservation.

In the current era of the Anthropocene, virtually all ecosystems in the world are subjected to man-made impacts. As yet, it is not possible to predict the response of wildlife to the ever-increasing global change. Why are some wildlife species threatened by anthropogenic change, while others persist or even thrive in modified, degenerated or novel habitats?

To answer this and related questions, the IZW conducts basic and applied research across different scientific disciplines. We study the diversity of life histories and evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, of free-ranging and captive wildlife species, and their interactions with people and their environment in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

The IZW is a member of the Leibniz Association and the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

Capturing elephants from the wild shortens their lives

Humans have captured wild Asian elephants for different purposes for more than 3,000 years. This still continues today despite the fact that the populations are declining. An international team of researchers has now analysed records of timber elephants in Myanmar to understand the effects of capture on the survival of the animals. The study shows that even years after capture, the mortality rate of wild-caught elephants remains increased, and their average life expectancy is several years shorter than that of captive-born animals. This increases the pressure on free-ranging populations, if captures from the wild continue, and thus could be unsustainable in the long run. Possible differences between captive-born and wild-captured elephants, as revealed by this study, have important implications but are rarely considered in research and conservation programmes. The results have now been published in the scientific journal Nature Communications....

Koala, Author: Daniel Zupanc
Koala, Author: Daniel Zupanc

Gene recombination deactivates retroviruses during invasion of host genomes

Most vertebrate genomes contain a surprisingly large number of viral gene sequences – about eight percent in humans. And yet how do exogenous viruses – apparently having invaded from outside – manage to become integrated into the host genome? Answers to this question are provided in a study by an international team of researchers led by Alex Greenwood of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in Berlin. Working with the example of koalas, the researchers have now identified key stages in the process, called “endogenization”, by which a host is invaded by exogenous retroviruses. The scientists also uncovered a process by which the host genome mounts a defense against the invaders. The results have now been published in the scientific journal PNAS....

Author: Leibniz-IZW
Author: Leibniz-IZW

Rhino sperm from the cold – new cryoprotective increases motility of sperm after thawing

A new mixture of cryoprotectives allows for an unprecedented high motility of frozen rhinoceros sperm after thawing, report scientists from the Institute for Zoo and Wildlife research (IZW) in Berlin, Germany. These new cryoprotectives can increase the prospects of utilising assisted reproduction techniques for many endangered wildlife species. The study, based on three rhinoceros species, has been published on 11th July2018 in the journal PLOS ONE....

Ovum pick up southern white rhino Author: Leibniz-IZW
Ovum pick up southern white rhino Author: Leibniz-IZW

A breakthrough to rescue the Northern White Rhino - First ever hybrid embryo produced outside the womb

 

Northern White Rhinos (NWR) are functionally extinct, as only two females of this species are left on the planet. An international team of scientists has now successfully created hybrid embryos from Southern White Rhino (SWR) eggs and NWR sperm using assisted reproduction techniques (ART).  This is the first, ever reported, generation of blastocysts (a pre-implantation embryos) of rhinos in a test tube. Additionally, the international team established stem cell lines from blastocysts of the SWR with typical features of embryonic stem cells. This breakthrough is published in Nature Communications today....

Cheetahs / Author: Leibniz-IZW, Cheetah Project Namibia
Cheetahs / Author: Leibniz-IZW, Cheetah Project Namibia

Territory holders and floaters: two spatial tactics of male cheetahs

Scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz IZW) in Berlin analysed the spatial behaviour of cheetahs. They showed that male cheetahs operate two space use tactics which are associated with different life-history stages. This long-term study on movement data of over 160 free-ranging cheetahs in Namibia has now been published in the scientific journal ECOSPHERE. ...

Lynx / Author: Ralph Frank, WWF
Lynx / Author: Ralph Frank, WWF

Lynxes in danger

A new study suggests that humans are putting pressure on the population of these big cats in the Germany-Czech Republic-Austria border area. ...

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