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.

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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Author: pixabay.com

Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission

In water-limited landscapes sick animals can have increased contact with healthy individuals, which can facilitate disease transmission. Scientists from the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) present these findings in the British Ecological Society journal Functional Ecology.

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Large antlered muntjac, Authors: Leibniz IZW, WWF-Vietnam, USAID Song Thanh Nature Reserve
Large antlered muntjac, Authors: Leibniz IZW, WWF-Vietnam, USAID Song Thanh Nature Reserve

First record of large-antlered muntjac in Quang Nam, Vietnam, in the wild provides new hope for the survival of this species

Quang Nam – 21st May, 2018 - In November 2017 - under a biodiversity monitoring and assessment activity supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) - scientists and conservationists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and WWF-Vietnam captured photographs of one of the rarest and most threatened mammal species of Southeast Asia, the large-antlered muntjac (Muntiacus vuquangensis), in Quang Nam province, central Vietnam. Prior to this milestone, this species had only been camera trapped in three protected areas in all of Vietnam since the year 2000. The new records from Quang Nam - which include photographs of both a male and a female - provide new hope for the continued survival of a species that is on the brink of extinction.

 

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DNA, Author: pixabay.com
DNA, Author: pixabay.com

The dark side of our genes – healthy ageing in modern times

The transition to modernity – largely driven by the Industrial Revolution – provided us with easier access to food and clean water, with antibiotics, vaccines, and modern medicine. Yet modernity did not just bring fewer infectious diseases and longer life: it also created an environment radically different from the one we evolved in. Genes helpful in our evolutionary past may now predispose us to chronic disease – such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer – in old ages. In a paper published in the journal Nature Review Genetics an international team of five scientists collate the evidence for this mismatch between past evolutionary adaptation and our modern lives. They also ask whether natural selection linked to modernization might reduce globally the burden of some chronic diseases.

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Bats emerging from a cave in Thailand, Author: CC Voigt / Leibniz-IZW
Bats emerging from a cave in Thailand, Author: CC Voigt / Leibniz-IZW

Above us only sky – the open air as an underappreciated habitat

Numerous bat species hunt and migrate at great altitudes. Yet the open sky had, until recently, not been on the radar of conservation scientists as a habitat relevant to a large variety of species. Christian Voigt and colleagues from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin have collated the current scientific knowledge on potential hazards to one group of animals flying at high altitudes, bats. In their recent article published in BioScience the authors synthesise threats facing bats in troposphere and provide recommendations for potential protective measures to ensure persistence of bats and other high-flying animals.

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