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The Leibniz-IZW is an internationally renowned German research institute. It is part of the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. and a member of the Leibniz Association. Our goal is to understand the adaptability of wildlife in the context of global change and to contribute to the enhancement of the survival of viable wildlife populations. For this purpose, we investigate the diversity of life histories, the mechanisms of evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, as well as the interrelations of wildlife with their environment and people. We use expertise from biology and veterinary medicine in an interdisciplinary approach to conduct fundamental and applied research – from the molecular to the landscape level – in close dialogue with the public and stakeholders. Additionally, we are committed to unique and high-quality services for the scientific community.

+++ Current information on African swine fever: The Leibniz-IZW conducts research on the population dynamics, on models of disease outbreaks in wild boars and on the ecology and human-wildlife interaction in urban areas. African swine fever is a reportable disease in domestic swine and therefor is the purview of the respective federal state laboratories and the Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut (Federal Research Institute for Animal Health) FLI. +++

News

Collared cheetah in the Namib Desert (Photo: Ruben Portas)
Collared cheetah in the Namib Desert (Photo: Ruben Portas)

Anthrax is an infectious bacterial disease endemic in some parts of Africa. It affects people, livestock as well as wildlife. Using GPS telemetry data, a team of scientists from the Cheetah Research Project of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) reconstructed a special case of anthrax infection in Namibia: Three free-ranging cheetahs in the Namib Desert died within 24 hours after feeding on a mountain zebra that tested positive for the disease. The zebra is the first described case of a wild animal infected with anthrax in this arid region. The case also shows that there might be previously unknown risks to cheetah populations in the desert. It is described in detail in the scientific journal “Frontiers in Veterinary Science”.

On September 26th not only the elections of the German parliament will take place, but as well of the Parliament of Berlin. With a position paper developed under the umbrella of Berlin Research 50, the non-university institution of Berlin emphasize what is important for science in Berlin. The position paper contains 10 demands that should be implemented by the future senate to strengthen Berlin as science metropolis.

Europasian golden oriole (By Kookaburra 81 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59190887)
Europasian golden oriole (By Kookaburra 81 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59190887)

The ability to adjust to changing environmental conditions is an essential prerequisite for species to cope with climate change. Using stable isotope analysis, a team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) now unravelled the link between wintering destinations of Eurasian Golden Oriole migrations and rainfall intensities in potential wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. Analysing historical feathers from 1818 to 1971, they identified two distinct wintering areas whose use depended on prevailing rainfall intensity. The link between the key migratory overwintering destination and local precipitation demonstrates the dependence of these birds on rainfall in sub-Saharan Africa – a parameter that might change with climate change and related processes of desertification. The results are published in the scientific journal “Global Change Biology”.

Searching for oocytes in the field lab in Kenya (photo: BioRescue/Rio the photographer)
Searching for oocytes in the field lab in Kenya (photo: BioRescue/Rio the photographer)

In another exciting step towards the future of the northern white rhino, three more pure northern white rhino embryos have been created by the global team of scientists and conservationists working to save the species. This time, they were also able to use sperm from a different bull, improving the genetic diversity of the embryos.

Gefriersperma von Rindern Foto: wikipedia Uwe Muell
Gefriersperma von Rindern Foto: wikipedia Uwe Muell

A research team at the Humboldt University Berlin and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) developed an agent-based computer model to simulate the journey of sperm cells through the female genital tract. Key factors for a successful transit could be identified without the use of animal experiments and were published in the scientific journal "PLoS Computational Biology".

Spotted hyena with Maasai pastoralist and cattle in Ngorongoro Crater (Photo: Oliver Höner)
Spotted hyena with Maasai pastoralist and cattle in Ngorongoro Crater (Photo: Oliver Höner)

Emotions towards and cultural importance of large carnivores are better predictors of the acceptance of management strategies by local communities than the extent of livestock depredation. This is the result of a new interdisciplinary investigation led by scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW). They conducted 100 questionnaires with Maasai pastoralists in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania, focusing on three large carnivore species (spotted hyenas, lions and leopards) and three management strategies (no action, relocation and lethal control). An emphasis on socio-cultural variables is key to understanding human-carnivore relationships and challenges the traditional focus on livestock depredation in human-carnivore conflict research, the scientists conclude. The findings are published in the open access scientific journal “Frontiers in Conservation Science”.

A leech in Southeast Asia (photo: Andrew Tilker)
A leech in Southeast Asia (photo: Andrew Tilker)

In a new scientific investigation headed by the German Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), water from African and Mongolian waterholes as well as bloodmeals from Southeast Asian leeches were assessed for the ability to retrieve mammalian viruses without the need to find and catch the mammals. The scientists analysed the samples using high throughput sequencing to identify known viruses as well as viruses new to science. Both approaches proved to be suitable tools for pandemic prevention research as they allow finding and monitoring reservoirs of wildlife viruses. For example, a novel coronavirus most likely associated with Southeast Asian deer species was identified. The results are published in the scientific journal “Methods in Ecology and Evolution”.

Juvenile white-tailed sea eagle in the parental nest (photo: Marc Engler)
Juvenile white-tailed sea eagle in the parental nest (photo: Marc Engler)

The white-tailed sea eagle is known for reacting sensitively to human disturbances. Forestry and agricultural activities are therefore restricted in the immediate vicinity of the nests. However, these seasonal protection periods are too short in the German federal States of Brandenburg (until August 31) and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (until July 31), as a new scientific analysis by a team of scientists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) suggests. Using detailed movement data of 24 juvenile white-tailed sea eagles with GPS transmitters, they were able to track when they fledge and when they leave the parental territory: on average, a good 10 and 23 weeks after hatching, respectively. When forestry work is allowed again, most of the young birds are still near the nest. In a publication in the journal “IBIS - International Journal of Avian Science”, the scientists therefore recommend an extension of the currently existing nest protection periods by one month.

IZW in the media

 

04.06.2021 | BBC News
How to protect birds and bats from wind turbines

02.06.2021 | Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Kontaktbörse am Katzenbaum - Die sozialen Netzwerke der Geparden

01.06.2021 | ZEIT Leo
Wer ist hier der Boss - Zwei Gepardenbrüder in Namibia

27.05.2021 | Pferde.de
Ob blond, ob braun – die Geschichte der Fellfarben beim Pferd

26.05.2021 | ServusTV
Cher und der Elefant

25.05.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
In Brandenburg werden immer mehr Wölfe getötet

19.05.2021 | BILD
Eltern von Eisbärin Hertha sind Geschwister - Wie gefährlich ist Inzucht bei Tieren?

13.05.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Wenn einer Braunbärin der Zahn gezogen wird

12.05.2021 | FOCUS
Tote Wölfin «Juli» wird untersucht

10.05.2021 | Bild der Wissenschaft
Magnetsinn im Fledermaus-Auge

07.05.2021 | Nature World News
Animals Can Survive Illnesses Caused by Climate Change Better than Humans?

07.05.2021 | APA Austria
Stu­die: Ein Drit­tel der Schü­ler weiß nicht was Zoo­no­sen sind

06.05.2021 | Econoticias
Los murciélagos tienen un sexto sentido en las córneas

03.05.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
Kinderwünsche und Umsiedelungen für Nashörner - Alternativen zum Aussterben

02.05.2021 | Spektrum der Wissenschaft
Artenschutz: Hunde haben die Nase vorn

30.04.2021 | Riffreporter
Schicksalsjahr für die Natur: Verhandlungen zu globalem Abkommen stecken fest

29.04.2021 | Der Tagesspiegel
Wie Pferde und Esel Wüsten beleben

28.04.2021 | FOCUS
Weiterer Schritt zur Rettung der Art

26.04.2021 | Bochumer Zeitung
Retroviren schreiben das Koala-Genom um und verursachen Krebs

19.04.2021 | ARD tagesschau24
WISSENSCHECK: Tierparks im Wandel

17.04.2021 | Spektrum der Wissenschaft
Artenschutz in Afrika - Stammtisch der Geparden

14.04.2021 | Greenpeace-Magazin
Dufte Katzenbars: Die Entdeckung von „Kommunikationshotspots“ könnte den Schutz der bedrohten Geparde voranbringen

07.04.2021 | Windkraft-Journal
Artenschutz an Windanlagen: Wie das akustische Monitoring zum Schutz der Biodiversität verbessert werden kann (und sollte)

05.04.2021 | ZDF Terra X
Die Sprache der Tiere

02.04.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Berliner Forscher bitten zu Ostern zur Hasenjagd

02.04.2021 | Badische Zeitung
Dating in Hyänen-Kreisen: Was für ein Stress

31.03.2021 | Berlin.de
Hase oder doch Kaninchen? Berliner zum Zählen aufgerufen

31.03.2021 | Süddeutsche Zeitung
Hase oder doch Kaninchen? Berliner zum Zählen aufgerufen

30.03.2021 | NABU Berlin
Auch der Osterhase ist ein (Ost-)Berliner - Berliner*innen sollen Feldhasen-Sichtungen in der Stadt melden

30.03.2021 | Horizon Magazine
The curious case of northeast Brazil’s cross-breeding sea turtles

25.03.2021 | Deutschlandfunk Kultur
Genomatlas für Artenschutz: Gen-Entschlüsselung könnte Artenvielfalt bewahren

25.03.2021 | The Guardian
Researchers find the secret of the bunny hop: it's all in the genes

25.03.2021 | MDR
Chemie in Greifvögeln: Pflanzenschutzmittel, Nagetiergift, Ibuprofen und Antibiotika

25.03.2021 | Die Linde
Schlagrisiko von Fledermäusen an Windkraftanlagen verringern

25.03.2021 | FOCUS
Rattengift bedroht Greifvögel

23.03.2021 | Berliner Zeitung
Chemikalien vergiften Greifvögel in Deutschland – und Habichte in Berlin

12.03.2021 | Terra Mater Factual Studios
How to Save a Species When There Are Only Two Females Left