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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

Green sea turtle (By P.Lindgren - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27611674)
Green sea turtle (By P.Lindgren - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27611674)

In a special issue of the leading scientific journal “Nature” and companion papers simultaneously published in other scientific journals, the Vertebrate Genomes Project (VGP) today announced 16 high quality, near error-free, and near complete vertebrate reference genome assemblies for species across all taxa with backbones (mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles and fishes). This remarkable step towards a new quality and scale in genome sequencing of biological diversity – the largest genome in the project was 5 gigabases in size ­– will enable novel discoveries from life’s diversity. It was made possible by a decade-long collaboration among scientists all across the globe. The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research (BeGenDiv) contributed to this community effort by assisting in the development of the assembly pipeline, training of bioinformatics students in reference genome assembly and with the assembly and evolutionary analysis of three genomes: the Linnaeus's two-toed sloth (Choloepus didactylus), the collared anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla) and the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas). Further publications based on these genomes for the three species are in preparation

Serow in the Annamite Mountains (Photo: Andrew Tilker, Leibniz-IZW, WWF-CarBi, XSNPA)
Serow in the Annamite Mountains (Photo: Andrew Tilker, Leibniz-IZW, WWF-CarBi, XSNPA)

The international consortium of scientists and conservationists working towards preventing the extinction of the northern white rhino through advanced assisted reproduction technologies is pleased to announce that in March and April 2021, four additional northern white rhino embryos were produced. This is the most successful series of procedures – from oocyte collection in Kenya to in vitro fertilisation and cryopreservation in Italy – the team of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Safari Park Dvůr Králové, Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Avantea has ever conducted. Additionally, the team confirmed the successful sterilisation of the southern white rhino bull Owuan, which was conducted in December 2020. The bull will now be introduced to the Ol Pejeta southern white rhino females that have been identified as potential surrogate mothers for future northern white rhino offspring.

Oocyte collection on March 28, 2021, in Kenya (Photo: Rio the Photographer)
Oocyte collection on March 28, 2021, in Kenya (Photo: Rio the Photographer)

The international consortium of scientists and conservationists working towards preventing the extinction of the northern white rhino through advanced assisted reproduction technologies is pleased to announce that in March and April 2021, four additional northern white rhino embryos were produced. This is the most successful series of procedures – from oocyte collection in Kenya to in vitro fertilisation and cryopreservation in Italy – the team of Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Safari Park Dvůr Králové, Kenya Wildlife Service, Ol Pejeta Conservancy and Avantea has ever conducted. Additionally, the team confirmed the successful sterilisation of the southern white rhino bull Owuan, which was conducted in December 2020. The bull will now be introduced to the Ol Pejeta southern white rhino females that have been identified as potential surrogate mothers for future northern white rhino offspring.

Dead bat below a wind turbine (Photo: Christian Voigt)
Dead bat below a wind turbine (Photo: Christian Voigt)

In order to assess the risk of bats dying at wind turbines, it is common practice to record the acoustic activity of bats within the operating range of the rotor blades. For this purpose, ultrasonic detectors are attached to the nacelles of the mast top. In a recent analysis, a team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) concludes that the effectiveness of this acoustic monitoring is insufficient to reliably predict mortality risk, especially for bats at large turbines. They therefore recommend installing supplementary ultrasonic detectors at other locations on the wind turbines and developing additional techniques such as radar and thermal imaging cameras for monitoring. The results of their analysis are published in the scientific journal “Mammal Review”.

Northern goshawk in Berlin (Photo: Oliver Krone)
Northern goshawk in Berlin (Photo: Oliver Krone)

Over the past decades, the increased use of chemicals in many areas led to environmental pollution - of water, soil and also wildlife. In addition to plant protection substances and human and veterinary medical drugs, rodenticides have had toxic effects on wildlife. A new scientific investigation from scientists of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), the Julius Kühn Institute (JKI) and the German Environment Agency (Umweltbundesamt – UBA) demonstrate that these substances are widely found in liver tissues of birds of prey from Germany. Anticoagulant rodenticides, commonly used to kill rodents in agriculture and forestry, were frequently detected, particularly in birds of prey close to or in urban environments. Especially northern goshawks in the urban conurbation of Berlin and red kites in all habitats were frequently exposed to rodenticides. Evidence of rodenticides in white-tailed sea eagles demonstrated that scavengers occupying habitats more distant from human-modified landscapes are subjected to exposure as well. The results, which were supported by WWF Germany, are published in the scientific journal “Environmental Research”.

Ethical risk assessment of a BioRescue oocyte collection in Kenya (Photo: Jan Zwilling)
Ethical risk assessment of a BioRescue oocyte collection in Kenya (Photo: Jan Zwilling)

The BioRescue consortium develops and applies new technological approaches as a last straw for saving critically endangered species such as the northern white rhinoceros. Advanced Assisted Reproductive Technologies (aART) push the boundaries of what can be done to create new offspring. Consequently, new ethical questions regarding the application of these tools arise and need to be answered, and relevant animal welfare issues to be addressed. In order to ensure that the ethical risk assessment matches the technological breakthrough with aART, the BioRescue consortium developed and applies the “ETHAS” tool, an ethical self-assessment tool explicitly designed for assisting oocyte collections, in vitro fertilizations, embryo transfers and further procedures of the BioRescue consortium. ETHAS was developed under the leadership of Padua University and is described in detail in a new paper published in the scientific journal “Animals”.

Premises of the Leibniz-IZW (Photo: Jan Zwilling)

The Senate of the Leibniz Association published its official statement on the regular evaluation of Leibniz-IZW on March 18, 2021. Leibniz institutions are evaluated by the Leibniz Senate every seven years at the latest. The evaluation focuses on an independent assessment of how the institution has developed in the intervening years, in terms of content and structure, as well as on the persuasiveness of its plans for the future. The Senate of the Leibniz Association adopts a statement on the basis of this evaluation, which usually contains recommendations for further funding of the institution. For Leibniz-IZW, the Senate of the Leibniz Association recommends that the Federal Government and the Länder continue joint funding of the institute.

Border collie "Zammy" points out the droppings of an otter. Foto: Annegret Grimm
Border collie "Zammy" points out the droppings of an otter. Foto: Annegret Grimm

Berlin, 02.03.2021; joint press release of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Leibniz-IZW

The lists of the world’s endangered animals and plants are getting increasingly longer. But to stop this trend, important information is lacking. It is often difficult to find out exactly where individual species still occur and how their populations are developing. Specially trained detection dogs can be a valuable help in such cases, as a new scientific publication review shows. With the help of detection dogs the searched species can usually be found faster and more effectively than with other methods, report Dr Annegret Grimm-Seyfarth and Wiebke Harms from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and Dr Anne Berger from the Leibniz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in the scientific journal "Methods in Ecology and Evolution".

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