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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

Bengalkatze mit ihrer Beute, fotografiert auf einem Forstwirtschaftsweg in Sabah, Malaysia. | Foto: Wilting & Mohamed, Sabah Wildlife Department, Sabah Forestry Department.

Die Bengalkatze scheint sich in Nutzwäldern wohl zu fühlen: Sie kommt dort häufiger vor als in vollständig naturbelassenen Lebensräumen. Dies fanden Wissenschaftler unter der Leitung des Leibniz-Instituts für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW) in einer Studie heraus. Doch mit ihrer Fähigkeit, sich auch in gestörten Lebensräumen gut zurechtzufinden, ist die häufigste Katzenart Asiens eine Ausnahme unter den Raubtieren des tropischen Regenwaldes.

Canine distemper virus of various wild species differs from the one of domestic dog population - which is more specialized. Photo: IZW.
Canine distemper virus of various wild species differs from the one of domestic dog population - which is more specialized. Photo: IZW.

A new study of canine distemper virus (CDV) provides the first evidence that the virus occurs as specialist strains that emerge in response to strong evolutionary selection in the large global domestic dog population, and as generalist strains adapted to infect a broad range of carnivore species that occur as smaller host populations. The study not only unravelled one key mechanism which led to the evolution of specialist and generalist strains, it also showed that specialising on one host species comes at the cost of a reduced ability to infect other host species.

Koalas at the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria
Koalas at the Tiergarten Schönbrunn in Vienna, Austria; Photo: Barbara Feldmann

By integrating themselves into the germ line of their host, retroviruses change the genetic code of their host. The only known case where this process can be currently observed is in Koalas. As an international team of scientists from Australia, Europe and North America just found out, this process may take longer than expected, with the virus continuing to have a serious pathological impact on the host which may go on for centuries. These findings have been just published online in Molecular Biology and Evolution.

Polar bear Lars
Polar bear Lars/Photo: Zoo Wuppertal/Barbara Scheer

Zoos bring together different animal species that would never encounter each other in the wild. On occasion, this can have unforeseen consequences. When in 2010 at the Wuppertal Zoo one polar bear died and another fell severely ill, zoo veterinarians were at a loss as to the cause of the symptoms. It has now been shown that the bears were infected with a recombinant zebra-derived virus that had jumped into other species, as reported today by an international team of researchers led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in the journal Current Biology. Such species-jumping viruses, if not detected, may threaten the conservation mission of zoos.

Wind farm
Wind farm, Photo: micha74un - Fotolia

Local wind turbines may have large-scale negative effects on distant ecosystems. Results of research by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) published today demonstrate that bats killed at German wind turbines originate mostly from northeastern Europe.

African elephant
African elephant/Photo: Department of Cognitive Biology; University of Vienna

In the current edition of "Science", an international team of voice researchers and cognitive biologists at the University of Vienna, and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin, Germany led by Christian Herbst, Angela Stoeger, Roland Frey and Tecumseh Fitch, provides new insights into the production of Elephant communication. The so-called "infrasounds", i.e. sounds with pitches below the range of human hearing, are found to be produced with the same physical mechanism as human speech or singing.

Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta), Photo: Marion L East

A new scientific study shows for the first time in spotted hyena (Crocuta crocuta) twin litters, that success in sibling competition for maternal milk is influenced by training effects, sex and hunger, and that dominant siblings exert incomplete control over their littermate’s access to the resource.

Scientists have now demonstrated that the Tasmanian tiger, also known as Tasmanian wolf or thylacine, possessed limited genetic variability prior to its extinction. This might have been caused by geographical isolation when Tasmania was isolated from mainland Australia 10-13 thousand years ago.

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