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Leibniz-IZW condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research strongly condemns Russia's attack on Ukraine. The Leibniz-IZW employs Ukrainian scientists, is very concerned about our scientific colleagues in Ukraine and will support scientists in Ukraine to the best of our ability.

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. +++


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.

Researchers have found which mechanisms are responsible that elephants have the longest pregnancy in the world. With up to 680 days their pregnancy is longer than in any other mammal studied so far.

During autumn, migratory bats use a combination of fat reserves and food to fuel their strenuous  long-distance flights to the south.

Ayone who is healthy has more enthusiasm for reproduction. The same is true even for bats. Male bats with a good immune system are more successful in being selected by females during mate choice and reproduction than their ailing counterparts.

Some animal and human populations were shown to shift their birth sex ratio from the expected unity. Using fluorescence in situ hybridisation, a research team now shows in a study that males in a captive endangered pygmy hippopotamus population may be able to adjust the ratio of X- and Y-chromosome bearing spermatozoa  in their ejaculates, in favour of producing more female. This could represent a way for the males to reduce competition for females from other males in this captive population.

Jena`s Leibniz Institute for Age Research - Fritz Lipmann Institute (FLI) and Berlin`s Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) from Germany are jointly starting a project for ageing research in 2012. Within the framework of the “Joint Initiative Research and Innovation” (PAKT), researchers want to identify molecular networks responsible for a long life in health. Naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) act as a model organism, these animals can reach a high age without suffering from age-related diseases. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal States invest 1.5 million euro within three years for this innovative research.


One of the biggest puzzles in evolution is why some groups of organisms contain many species while others have only a few. You might expect that groups of the same geological age would have a similar number of species, but that is seldom the case. Among mammals, the New World Leaf-Nosed bats comprise almost 200 species, while their closest relatives include only 10 species despite evolving over the same period of time. Why are there so many species of New World Leaf-Nosed bats?