We are urgently looking for a motivated student for a diploma/Master´s thesis on the topic seasonal feeding preferences in adult garden dormice   More information here [Link 1].


The latest FIWI annual report 2014 has arrived

Annual report 2014
Cover image FIWI annual report 2014 [Link 2]

To download the report  (in German) please klick on the cover image.  You can find all FIWI annual reports on our info page [Link 3].


Vetmeduni Success prize goes to FIWI researcher

Recipients of the Vetmeduni Success Prize are handed their certificates by Rector Sonja Hammschmid and Vice rector Otto Doblhoff-Dier. At right Nikolaus Huber (Photo: Ernst Hammerschmid/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Photo of Nikolaus Huber at the award ceremony [Link 4]

Veterinary scientist Nikolaus Huber is one of three prize winners of this year´s Vetmeduni Success Prize and will receive a grant of 15.000 Euro for his dissertation.  Nikolaus Huber is writing his dissertation entitled "Waking up to fight" at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology.  He is examining how infections affect the sleep-wake cycle of garden dormice during hibernation.  The research is supervised by colleagues Thomas Ruf from FIWI and Armin Saalmüller from the Institute of Immunology of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.


Assistant professorship for our wildlife researcher

Teresa Valencak is now an assistant professor. (Photo: Ernst Hammerschmid)
Photo of Teresa Valencak

In December 2014 Teresa Valencak was selected for one of four qualifying positions at the Vetmeduni Vienna. The PhD zoologist received her teaching authorization for wildlife biologiy early last year. She teaches and researches at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology.  Since 2013 the Vetmeduni has instituted so-called qualifying positions aimed at promoting young scientists and preparing them for a university career.  These positions enable young researchers to gain leadership experience in their field in preparation for eventually becoming a full professor.  At FIWI Teresa Valencak leads the working group for experimental biology.

(Web editor, 16 March 2015)


Saker falcons readily accept nest boxes on power poles

The Saker falcon is a globally endangered bird of prey. It is among the largest and heaviest species within the family of falcons. (Photo: Richard Zink/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Photo of a juvenile Saker falcon [Link 5]

BirdLife, the Austrian Power Grid AG (APG) and the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna have been working on a conservation project for the Saker falcon for several years.  One project activity involves mounting nest boxes on electricity poles in Austria´s provinces of Burgenland and Lower Austria.  These nesting places appear to be quite popular.  2014 was a new record year:  31 Saker falcon pairs raised 47 offspring, and the new breeding season 2015 has already begun.  This makes excellent news: this endangered bird species is successfully making its home in Austria again.

More info (Press release in German)
 [Link 6]

Video on the project (in German) [Link 7]

(Web editor, 10 March 2015)


Fast food for brown bears

Slowenische Braunbären haben es leicht mit der Nahrungssuche. (Foto: Petra Kaczensky)
Foto eines Braunbären im Wald [Link 8]

The availability and quality of food have an important influence on the behaviour and population dynamics of wildlife.  In Slovenia, like in many European countries brown bears receive supplemental food to facilitate hunting or to ward off bear damages.  This management measure is expensive and controversial, as its effect on bears is not well studied.  Petra Kaczensky from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology/Vetmeduni Vienna and colleagues from the Biotechnical Institute and the Forestry Institute of the University of Ljubljana wanted to find out what role supplemental feeding plays in the bears´energy budget and in the occurrence of bear damages.  They analysed more than 700 scat samples from three different regions in Slovenia.  They found a high proportion of supplemental food in the bears´diet.  The authors warn, however, that undifferentiated feeding of bears may not necessarily lead to a reduction in conflicts.  The article "Fast food bears: brown bear diet in a human-dominated landscape with intensive supplemental feeding [Link 9]"  ist published in the January 2015 edition of the journal Wildlife Biology [Link 10].

More info [Link 11]

(Web editor, 8 January 2015)


Europe´s wild side - the comeback of lynx, wolf, brown bear and wolverine

The lynx was long a rare visitor in European forests. (Photo: Petra Kaczensky)
Photo of a lynx [Link 12]

Threats to endangered species is regularly in the news.  All the better that sometimes there are success stories.  Petra Kaczensky, Georg Rauer and Felix Knauer of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and other international researchers have published a study in the renowned journal Science.  The article shows that large predators - lynx, wolf, brown bear, and wolverine - are finding new habitat even in densely populated Europe.  Altogether Europe now hosts populations of about 17.000 bears, 12.000 wolves, 9.000 lynx and 1.250 wolverines in its densely populated cultural landscapes.  The return of lynx and co. leads to heated discussions in many places. An ongoing dialogue with stakeholders and an active conflict management are very important.

More info (Science article)
 [Link 13]

(Web editor, 19 December 2014)


The power of the power nap – Scientists uncover secrets of hibernation

The common dormouse is native to Europe and lives predominantly in forest habitat. Here a juvenile dormouse in a nestbox. (Photo: Stefan Stumpfel / Vetmeduni Vienna)
Photo of a young dormouse in a nestbox [Link 14]

For hibernating mammals, the pre-winter months are a race against time to accumulate enough energy reserves to last until spring. Offspring born late in the year have much less time to achieve this. Sylvain Giroud and colleagues from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna have discovered that power-napping can help late-born garden dormice overcome these unfavourable odds. The scientists also found a link between time spent at higher temperatures and ageing. The results were published in the Journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B [Link 15].

More info [Link 16]

(Web editor, 10 November 2014)



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