FIWI Annual Report 2015

The annual report for 2015 (in German) can be downloaded here (click on the image).
Cover photo of the annual report 2015

 

News

 

Species conservation days at Schönbrunn Zoo 2016

A young Ural owl (Photo Richard Zink)
Photo of a young owl [Link 1]

Every year Schönbrunn Zoo presents its most interesting species conservation projects during "conservation days" ("Artenschutztage").  From 1-9 September several nature-, species-conservation and environment organisations will be showing their work.  As in previous years the project for Ural owl re-introduction in Austria will have an information booth and answer people´s questions.  

The project´s goal is to enable a stable Ural owl population in Austrian forests.  The Schönbrunn Zoo supports the project through breeding measures, the identification of Ural owls in the wild, and public information activities. 

Info about the project on the web page of Schönbrunn Zoo [Link 2]

Programme of the "Artenschutztage" [Link 3]

(Web editor, 29 August 2016)

 

 

 

 

Caught in the wire: The rise of border security fences forces reconsideration of wildlife conservation strategies in Eurasia

The migration of Asiatic wild ass in the Gobi is cut off by border fences. (Photo P. Kaczensky)
Photo of wild ass at the border fence [Link 4]
Fences can be deadly obstacles for wildlife. (Photo Dejan Kaps)
Photo of a dead red deer caught in a fence [Link 5]

Between 25.000 and 30.000 kilometres of wire fences and walls surrounds the borders of many countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is killing wildlife that becomes entangled and acts as a barrier to wildlife movements, cutting species off from important seasonal habitats. The long-term consequences are a lower viability of wildlife populations, and a reduction in their ability to respond to climate change. This situation forces a re-think of transboundary conservation strategies.

Petra Kaczensky from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and colleagues from various international research institutions present for the first time an overview of the current situation and the resulting challenges, including for species conservation.  

The article "Border security fencing and wildlife: the end of the transboundary paradigm in Eurasia? [Link 6]" by Linnell, J.D.C., Trouwborst, A., Boitani, L., Kaczensky, P., Huber, D., Reljic, S., Kusak, J., Majic, A., Skrbinsek, T., Potocnik, H., Hayward, M.W., Milner-Gulland, E.J., Buuveibaatar, B., Olson, K.A., Badamjav, L., Bischof, R., Zuther, S. & Breitenmoser, U.  was published in the journal PLoS Biology.

(Web editor, 22.6.2016)

 

Antibiotic resistance in wildlife

Multi-resistant bacteria were found in a wild mouflon (Photo Petra Karstedt (User admin at tiermotive.de) CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)
Photo of a mouflon

Infections with antibiotic-resistent bacteria have become an increasing problem in medical treatment.  But humans are not the only ones affected.  Researchers at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, together with colleagues from the Working Group for Clinical Microbiology and Animal Hygiene, have examined European mouflons for the presence of resistant bacteria. They found bacteria from the family Enterobacteriaceae in one of the examined animals.  Since the examined mouflons were free-ranging specimens and had not been treated with antibiotics, it is likely that the animal acquired the bacteria from its natural environment, where human often pass through as well.  Before this study a team around Dr. Chris Walzer had found out that migratory rooks and resident crows also carry these bacteria.  They have also been found in several other species of wildlife.  

The article "Characterization of ESBL- and AmpC-Producing and Fluoroquinolone-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae Isolated from Mouflons (Ovis orientalis musimon) in Austria and Germany [Link 7]" by Igor Loncaric , Christoph Beiglböck, Andrea T. Feßler, Annika Posautz, Renate Rosengarten, Chris Walzer, Ralf Ehricht, Stefan Monecke, Stefan Schwarz, Joachim Spergser und Anna Kübber-Heiss was published in May 2016 in the international journal PLOS One.

(Web editor, 10 June 2016)

 

Shy wild boars are sometimes better mothers

With sufficient food shy wild boar mothers will raise more young. (Photo: Sebastian Vetter/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Photo of wild boar mother with piglets [Link 8]

The personality of wild boar mothers can affect the wellbeing of their young, as a team from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine has found out. In a multi-year study of reproductive strategies of wild boars, Sebastian Vetter and fellow researchers investigated whether and under what circumstances the personality of the wild boars affected the number of offspring reared. The study revealed that, when sufficient food is available, shy wild boar mothers raise more young than risk-taking, aggressive females. When the availability of food (e.g. acorns) becomes scarce, however, there is no longer an advantage for shy females. 

The article „Shy is sometimes better: personality and juvenile body mass affect adult reproductive success in wild boars, Sus scrofa [Link 9]” by Sebastian G. Vetter, Constanze Brandstätter, Marie Macheiner, Franz Suchentrunk, Hanno Gerritsmann, and Claudia Bieber was published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

More info [Link 10]

(Web editor, 3 June 2016)

 

New book on wild horses and their relatives

The new book "Wild Equids" is a comprehensive source of information on wild equine relatives, such as zebras. (Foto: Petra Kaczensky/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Photo of zebras in the water [Link 11]

Wild equids such as zebra, wild ass, and wild horses are an endangered, but little known group of equines.  People are more familiar with the domestic horse and donkey than with their wild relatives, about whom astonishingly little is known.  In their new book "Wild Equids - Ecology, Management, and Conservation" the editors and authors Petra Kaczensky of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna and Jason Ransom of the US National Park Service summarize current international research results from various wild equid experts.  The book combines information on behaviour, way of life, habitat use, and genetics with concepts for the protection of these charismatic species.  It also emphasises people´s role and explains important key words, such as differential interpretations of the meaning of "wild".  The book is published in English language by the Johns Hopkins University Press.

More info [Link ]

(Web editor, 1 June 2016)

 

Origin of dromedary domestication discovered

Dromedaries have always been used for transportation in deserts (Photo: Raziq Kakar)
Photo of a caravan of dromedaries [Link 12]
PNAS cover of the 14 June 2016 issue [Link 13]

Dromedaries have been used for transportation in desert regions for over 3,000 years. Until now, however, it was not known exactly where they were first domesticated or which genetic structure was selected in the process. A team of researchers including Pamela Burger of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna has now managed to answer these questions. With samples taken from nearly 1,100 extant dromedaries and from bone finds of wild, one-humped camels, they identified the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula as the origin of the domesticated dromedary. The researchers also showed that the dromedaries, unlike other domesticated animals, have maintained extensive gene flow in the modern population. This high genetic diversity has enabled the dromedary to adapt to difficult environments and climatic change.

The journal PNAS highlighted the article by placing a camel on the cover [Link 14] of its June 14, 2016 issue.

The scientific article “Ancient and modern DNA reveal dynamics of domestication and cross-continental dispersal of the dromedary” was published in the journal PNAS [Link 15].  [Link ]

More info [Link 16]

(Web editor, 10 May 2016)

 

 

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