Dr. Petra Kretzschmar



Department of Evolutionary ecology

Tel: 0049 (0) 30 5168 513
E-Mail: kretzschmar@izw-berlin.de

External position: Director Rhino and Forest Fund

Short curriculum vitae

Since 2010, I am working as a biologist at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. My main research interest is species and nature conservation especially in Southeast Asia and in southern Africa. Here, I study the influence of ecological and anthropogenic factors on the survival and reproductive success of African and Asian rhinoceroses. To do so, I apply a variety of methods ranging from classical field investigations, such as behavioural observations, habitat analysis and telemetry, to non-invasive hormone investigations, food analyses and genetic paternity analyses including statistics.  Since 2017 I am a member of the IUCN/SSC Asian Rhino Specialist Group.

In addition to my scientific work, I am a director of the Rhino and Forest Fund. The aim of the association is the recreation and the connection of species-rich habitats in order to prevent island habitats and the associated consequences in regards to species extinction. This project is also conducted in cooperation with the Leibniz-IZW, were I am investigating the repopulation of formerly degraded and species-poor habitats.

In South Africa, another country in which I have many years of experience, I work as a consultant for a private game farm in the field of wildlife management. For more than 20 years I have been keeping the studbook of white and black rhinoceroses and thus contribute to an optimisation of the breeding success and the genetic variability of the rhinoceroses.

My projects have been funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), among others, within the framework of research for sustainable development (FONA). Some other highly important tasks involved in my work is the close relation with nature conservation authorities, ministries, non-governmental organisations and the industry. 

Research interests
  • Mate choice
  • Sexual selection
  • Habitat selection
  • Conservation biology
  • Human-wildlife conflict
  • Land use conflicts
  • Stakeholder dialogues
Selected publications

Kretzschmar P, Auld H, Boag P, Gansloßer U, Scott C, Van Coeverden de Groot JP, Courtiol A (2020): Mate choice, reproductive success and inbreeding in white rhinoceros: New insight for conservation management. EVOL APPL 13, 699–714. doi:10.1111/eva.12894.

Kretzschmar P, Kramer-Schadt S, Ambu L, Bender J, Bohm T, Ernsing M, Göritz F, Hermes R, Payne J, Schaffer N, Thayaparan ST, Zainal ZZ, Hildebrandt TB, Hofer H (2016): The catastrophic decline of the Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis harrissoni) in Sabah: Historic exploitation reduced female reproductive performance and population viability. Global Ecology and Conservation 6, 257-275.

Ancrenaz M,  Sollmann R, Meijaard E, Hearn AJ,  Ross J,  Samejima H, Cheyne SM,  Stark DJ, Gardner PC, Goossens B,  Mohamed A,  Bohm R, Matsuda I, Nakabayasi M,  Khee S, Bernard LH,  Brodie J, Wich S,  Fredriksson G,  Hanya G,  Harrison ME,  Kanamori T, Kretzschmar P, Macdonald DW,  Riger P,  Spehar S, Ambu LN, Wilting A (2014): Coming down from the trees: Is terrestrial activity in Bornean orangutans natural or disturbance driven? Scientific reports 4.