Britta Mahlert is awarded a prize of the DZG for her Master´s thesis on juvenile garden dormice
On 1 April 2016 the biology student Britta Mahlert was awarded a German Zoological Society (DZG) prize for an outstanding Master´s thesis with a zoological focus. She wrote on "Difference in torpor use, growth and pre-hibernation fattening between early and late-born juvenile garden dormice (Eliomys quercinus) [Link 2]". The young biologist undertook her research on dormice at the Research of Wildlife Ecology of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, under the guidance of FIWI scientist Sylvain Giroud. She was enrolled in the Master Programm "Wildlife Ecology and Wildlife Management" of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU). Congratulations!
(Web editor, 4 April 2016)
World Wildlife Day 2016 - FIWI also engages in wildlife protection
The 3rd of March marks the international World Wildlife Day [Link ]. This day, which was officially proclaimed by the UN General Assembly coincides with the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). This year´s thematic focus is the fight against wildlife-related crime. The Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, routinely elaborates new practical concepts for the wildlife conservation and welfare.
The UN´s World Wildlife Day celebrates the beauty and diversity of wild populations, but it also reminds us of the threats to biodiversity through human actions. FIWI´s research results from field research, molecular analysis, chemical fine analysis, and even mathematical modeling, are also used for wildlife conservation. "Research of the needs and behaviour of wildlife in ecological contexts is among our principal tasks," says wildlife expert and Department head Walter Arnold. „Our results contribute to creating a basis for the life of wild animal species in human-dominated landscapes."
The special focus of World Wildlife Day 2016 on wildlife crime is also relevant for FIWI´s work. FIWI scientists routinely examine illegally killed wildlife on behalf of authorities, nature conservation and hunting organizations. This pathological diagnosis [Link 4] contributes significantly to solving such cases.
It may also be interesting to note that on 26 February 2016 the European Commission adopted an EU Action Plan to tackle wildlife trafficking within the EU [Link 5] and to strengthen the EU's role in the global fight against these illegal activities. The Action Plan is an ambitious blueprint that mobilises all EU diplomatic, trade and development cooperation tools to crack down on what has become one of the most profitable criminal activities worldwide.
(Web editor, 3 March 2016)
Checking the health of captive rhinos
White rhinoceroses are an endangered species. Their proper captive management in zoos is therefore of great importance. Annika Posautz, Felix Knauer and Chris Walzer from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at Vetmeduni Vienna investigated, among other things, how the housing conditions of southern white rhinoceroses differed in zoos across Europe and which health problems were most common. Through an online survey to various zoos in Europe they gathered information about the sorts of problems encountered in captive animal management. The survey showed that rhinoceroses are often treated with antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs without proper diagnosis. Actual diseases may be overlooked as a result.
The article „Health and health management of captive white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum): results from an online survey [Link 7]“ by Annika Posautz, Felix Knauer, and Christian Walzer was published in the Journal of Zoo and Aquarium Research.
More info [Link 8]
(Web editor, 25 February 2016)
Claudia Bieber habilitates in animal ecology
The zooligist Dr. Claudia Bieber of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology (FIWI) of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna recently habilitated in her special research area, animal ecology. Within the framework of her habilitation thesis Dr. Bieber researched the influence of fluctuating environmental conditions on the optimal timing of reproduction in wildlife species.
Bieber specialized early in the field of animal ecology, which researches the relations between animals and their environment. During her research at the University of Marburg Bieber concentrated on the edible dormouse (Glis glis). At FIWI she broadened the spectrum of her research subjects to common dormice and wild boars [Link 9]. Her main interest is in the influence of environmental conditions on life history strategies.
More info (in German)
(Web editor, 18 January 2016)
First discovery of a hibernating primate outside Madagascar
Up to now, three species of lemurs on Madagascar were the only primates known to hibernate. Now a team at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna, collaborating with colleagues from the Vietnamese Endangered Primate Rescue Center, has discovered another primate that hibernates: the pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus).
The researchers found out that the examined slow lorises repeatedly showed hibernation episodes lasting up to 63 hours between December and February. The underlying reason is likely an endogenous annual clock, which induces hibernation at a time of the year when food abundance is decreasing. However, it is also the decreasing ambient temperature that triggers hibernation. During the cold season food is sparse. Hibernation then helps to save energy.
The article „Hibernation in the pygmy slow loris (Nycticebus pygmaeus): multiday torpor in primates is not restricted to Madagascar [Link 12]” by Thomas Ruf, Ulrike Streicher, Gabrielle L. Stalder, Tilo Nadler and Chris Walzer was published in Scientific Reports of the Nature Publishing Group.
More info [Link 13]
(Web editor, 3 December 2015)
News archive... [Link 14]