A.Prof. Dr. Franz Schwarzenberger studied veterinary medicine in Vienna, Austria. He did a post doc in Guelph, Canada. After he returned to the VetmedUni Vienna, he achieved his habilitation. He is teaching first and second year veterinary students in biochemistry and endocrinology, and final year veterinary students in the specialization module ‘Conservation Medicine’.


During the past 3 decades, Franz Schwarzenberger has studied the reproductive physiology in a large number of different wild and farm animal species by means of faecal steroid hormone analysis.

Results of these studies have considerably contributed to the current knowledge on 1) the metabolism, extraction and analysis of steroid hormone metabolites from faecal samples and 2) on the reproductive physiology and pathology of several nondomestic animal species.

Noninvasive fecal steroid analysis has become the most important method of endocrine monitoring in wildlife species. Dr. Schwarzenberger is involved in a large number of such projects on reproductive management. On a routine basis, he is analysing samples for reproductive monitoring in i.e. rhinoceros species, okapis, giraffes, tree kangaroos, tapirs, nondomestic felid and equine species. Today, impressive endocrine databases exist for many wildlife species. Of interest is the high degree of variability in endocrine mechanisms observed not only between taxonomic groups, but also between individuals of a certain species. Endocrine monitoring has enormous potential for wildlife conservation and has implications for how we manage wildlife species both in situ and ex situ.




Schwarzenberger, F., & Brown, J. L. (2013). Hormone monitoring: An important tool for the breeding management of wildlife species. Wien Tierärztl Monat–Vet Med Austria, 100, 209225.

Schwarzenberger, F. (2007). The many uses of noninvasive faecal steroid monitoring in zoo and wildlife species. International Zoo Yearbook, 41, 5274.

Graham, L., Schwarzenberger, F., Möstl, E., Galama, W., Savage, A. (2001). A versatile enzyme immunoassay for the determination of progestogens in feces and serum. Zoo Biology, 20, 227‐236.

Schwarzenberger, F., Palme, R., Bamberg, E., Möstl, E. (1997). A review of faecal

progesterone metabolite analysis for noninvasive monitoring of reproductive function

in mammals. Zeitschrift für Saugetierkunde, 62 (SUPPL. 2), 214‐221.

Schwarzenberger, F., Möstl, E., Palme, R., Bamberg, E. (1996). Faecal steroid analysis for noninvasive monitoring of reproductive status in farm, wild and zoo animals. Animal Reproduction Science, 42, 515526.

Fecal steroid monitoring Rhinoceroses

Hermes, R., Schwarzenberger, F., Göritz, F., Oh, S., Fernandes, T., Bernardino, R., Leclerc, A., Greunz, E., Mathew, A., Forsyth, S., Saragusty, J., Hildebrandt, T.B. (2016). Ovarian down regulation by GnRF vaccination decreases reproductive tract tumour size in female white and greater onehorned rhinoceroses. PLoS ONE 11, no. e0157963. Hermes, R., Hildebrandt, T.B., Walzer, C., Göritz, F., Gray, C., Niemuller, C., Schwarzenberger, F. (2012). Estrus induction in white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Theriogenology, 78, 1217‐1223.

Hildebrandt, T.B., Hermes, R., Walzer, C., Sós, E., Molnar, V., Mezösi, L., Schnorrenberg, A., Silinski, S., Streich, J., Schwarzenberger, F., Göritz, F. (2007). Artificial insemination in the anoestrous and the postpartum white rhinoceros using GnRH analogue to induce ovulation. Theriogenology, 67, 14731484.

Hermes, R., Hildebrandt, T.B., Walzer, C., Göritz, F., Patton, M.L., Silinski, S., Anderson, M.J., Reid, C.E., Wibbelt, G., Tomasova, K., Schwarzenberger, F. (2006). The effect of long nonreproductive periods on the genital health in captive female white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum, C.s. cottoni). Theriogenology 65, 1492‐1515.

Hermes, R., Hildebrandt, T.B., Blottner, S., Walzer, C., Silinski, S., Patton, M.L., Wibbelt, G., Schwarzenberger, F., Göritz, F. (2005). Reproductive soundness of captive southernand northern white rhinoceroses (Ceratotherium simum simum, C.s. cottoni): Evaluation of male genital tract morphology and semen quality before and after cryopreservation. Theriogenology 63, 219‐238.

Schwarzenberger, F., Rietschel, W., Vahala, J., Holeckova, D., Thomas, P., Maltzan, J., Baumgartner, K., Schaftenaar, W. (2000). Fecal progesterone, estrogen, and androgen metabolites for noninvasive monitoring of reproductive function in the female Indian rhinoceros, Rhinoceros unicornis. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 119, 300


Schwarzenberger, F., Walzer, C., Tomasova, K., Vahala, J., Meister, J., Goodrowe, K.L., Zima, J., Strauß, G., Lynch, M. (1998). Faecal progesterone metabolite analysis for noninvasive monitoring of reproductive function in the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). Animal Reproduction Science 53, 173190.

Schwarzenberger, F., Tomášová, K., Holečková, D., Matern, B., Möstl, E. (1996).

Measurement of fecal steroids in the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis) using groupspecific enzyme immunoassays for 20oxopregnanes. Zoo Biology 15, 159‐171.

Schwarzenberger, F., Francke, R., Goltenboth, R. (1993). Concentrations of faecal

immunoreactive progestagen metabolites during the oestrous cycle and pregnancy in

the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli). Journal of Reproduction and Fertility

98, 285291. Fecal steroid monitoring – various species

Flacke, G.L., Schwarzenberger, F., Penfold, L.M., Walker, S.L., Martin, G.B., Millar, R.P., Paris, M.C.J. (2017). Characterizing the reproductive biology of the female pygmy hippopotamus (Choeropsis liberiensis) through noninvasive endocrine monitoring. Theriogenology, 102, 126138.

Nagl, A., Kneidinger, N., Kiik, K., Lindeberg, H., Maran, T., Schwarzenberger, F. (2015) Noninvasive monitoring of female reproductive hormone metabolites in the

endangered European mink (Mustela lutreola). Theriogenology, 84, 1472‐1481.

Voigt, C.C., Schwarzenberger, F. (2008). Reproductive endocrinology of a small tropical bat (female Saccopteryx bilineata; emballonuridae) monitored by fecal hormone metabolites. Journal of Mammalogy 89, 5057.

Hesterman, H., Jones, S.M., Schwarzenberger, F. (2008). Reproductive endocrinology of the largest dasyurids: Characterization of ovarian cycles by plasma and fecal steroid

monitoring. Part I. The Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii). General and Comparative Endocrinology 155, 234244.

Vervaecke, H., Schwarzenberger, F. (2006). Endocrine and behavioral observations during transition of nonbreeding into breeding season in female American bison (Bison bison). Theriogenology 66, 1107‐1114.

Schwarzenberger, F., Fredriksson, G., Schaller, K., Kolter, L. (2004). Fecal steroid analysis for monitoring reproduction in the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus). Theriogenology 62,1677‐1692.

Paris, M.C.J., White, A., Reiss, A., West, M., Schwarzenberger, F. (2002). Faecal progesterone metabolites and behavioural observations for the noninvasive assessment of oestrous cycles in the common wombat (Vombatus ursinus) and the southern hairynosed

wombat (Lasiorhinus latifrons). Animal Reproduction Science 72, 245257.

Rabiee, A.R., Macmillan, K.L., Schwarzenberger, F. (2001). The effect of level of feed intake on progesterone clearance rate by measuring faecal progesterone metabolites in grazing dairy cows. Animal Reproduction Science 67, 205214.

Schwarzenberger, F., Rietschel, W., Matern, B., Schaftenaar, W., Bircher, P., Van

Puijenbroeck, B., Leus, K. (1999). Noninvasive reproductive monitoring in the okapi

(Okapia johnstoni). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 30, 497503.

Schwarzenberger, F., Patzl, M., Francke, R., Ochs, A., Buiter, R., Schaftenaar, W., De Meurichy, W. (1993). Fecal progestagen evaluations to monitor the estrous cycle and pregnancy in the okapi (Okapia johnstoni). Zoo Biology 12, 549‐559.

Schwarzenberger, F., Möstl, E., Bamberg, E., Pammer, J., Schmehlik, O. (1991).

Concentrations of progestagens and oestrogens in the faeces of pregnant Lipizzan,

trotter and thoroughbred mares. Journal of Reproduction and Fertility. Supplement,

44, 489‐499.

Various topics:

Cornils, J.S., Hoelzl, F., Huber, N., Zink, R., Gerritsmann, H., Bieber, C., Schwarzenberger, F.,

Ruf, T. (2018). The insensitive dormouse: Reproduction skipping is not caused by

chronic stress in Glis glis. Journal of Experimental Biology 221, jeb183558.

Aydinonat, D., Penn, D.J., Smith, S., Moodley, Y., Hoelzl, F., Knauer, F., Schwarzenberger, F. (2014) Social isolation shortens telomeres in African Grey parrots (Psittacus erithacus erithacus) (2014) PLoS ONE, 9 (4), art. no. e93839.

Schinnerl, M., Aydinonat, D., Schwarzenberger, F., Voigt, C.C. (2011). Hematological survey of common neotropical bat species from Costa Rica. Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 42, 382391.

Reimers, M., Schwarzenberger, F., Preuschoft, S. (2007). Rehabilitation of research

chimpanzees: Stress and coping after longterm isolation. Hormones and Behavior, 51,  428‐435.

Künzle, H., Nautrup, C.P., Schwarzenberger, F. (2007). High interindividual variation in the gestation length of the hedgehog tenrec, Echinops telfairi (Afrotheria). Animal

Reproduction Science 97, 364374.

Hoby, S., Schwarzenberger, F., Doherr, M.G., Robert, N., Walzer, C. (2006). Steroid hormone related male biased parasitism in chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra. Veterinary Parasitology 138, 337‐348.

Burger, P.A., Steinborn, R., Walzer, C., Petit, T., Mueller, M., Schwarzenberger, F. (2004). Analysis of the mitochondrial genome of cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) with

neurodegenerative disease. Gene 338, 111‐119.



University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna)
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