Looking for a diploma or Master´s student!

We are looking for  a diploma or Master´s student on the topic "Change of fur in red deer" (Start April 2019).  


FIWI Annual Report 2017

The annual report for the year 2017 can now be downloaded by klicking on the cover photo. (Report in German)
Cover of the FIWI Annual Report 2017








In Svalbard reindeer the inner clock is always ticking

Svalbard reindeers stick to their natural circadian rhythm despite midnight sun and polar winter. (Photo: © dieter leve / pixelio.de)
Reindeer herd in the snow 1

All animals have an internal clock with a cycle length that deviates slightly from 24 hours, and that synchronizes based on cues from external "timers", usually the daily change from day to night. It was uncertain whether this internal clock also functions in the Polar Regions, where there is continuous darkness for months during winter and steady light in the summer. A research team led by Walter Arnold from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology at the Vetmeduni Vienna examined this question for wild reindeer on Svalbard, using for the first time a high-resolution telemetry system. They studied not only the behavior, but also the physiology of the animals. They found that - contrary to earlier findings - a circadian rhythm persists throughout the year.

The article “Circadian rhythmicity persists through the Polar night and midnight sun in Svalbard reindeer 2” by Walter Arnold, Thomas Ruf, Leif Egil Loe, R. Justin Irvine, Erik Ropstad, Vebjørn Veiberg and Steve D. Albon was published in Scientific Reports.

(Web editor, 16 November 2018)


FIWI will soon be offering training for a new ÖTK-Diploma in "farm wildlife medicine" an

Male red deer in an enclosure (Photo C. Beiglböck/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Two male red deer in an enclosure 3

Veterinarians from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna (FIWI) have developed a new training programme on medical care for farmed wildlife.  Together with the Chamber of Veterinarians and Dr. Karl Bauer from the Styrian animal health service, Dr. Johanna Painer, Dr. Gabrielle Stalder, and Dr. Christoph Beiglböck worked out the content of a new diploma that will be recognized by the Chamber of Veterinarians. 

Wildlife farming is undergoing an upward trend in Austria, it is being implemented as an alternative land use on remaining greenland areas, often in accordance with organic agriculture production standards with direct marketing.  Keeping wildlife in enclosures is a trend that requires special skills from veterinarians.  Now they will be able to get specialized certified knowledge in this area by completing five course modules within a two year period. 

Courses will start in the spring of 2019.  Further details will be published in due course on the website of the Chamber of Veterinarians. 

More info on ÖTK Diplomas 4

ÖTK Diploma Farmwildmedizin 5

(Web editor, 14 November 2018)


Trading sex for sleep – aging dormice shorten their hibernation for more reproduction

Shortened winter hibernation of aging edible dormice is due to an increase in reproductive activity. (©Jessica Cornils/Vetmeduni Vienna)
Dormice with youngsters in the nestbox 6

Edible dormice are extremely long-lived for their size thanks to their seasonal dormancy. The animals are veritable record holders in this “discipline”, with hibernation periods lasting between at least six and a maximum of eleven months. The factors influencing the variable duration of the hibernation period, apart from the specific environmental conditions, have so far been unknown. Study leader Claudia Bieber and other researchers at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology of the Vetmeduni Vienna hypothesised that older animals should shorten their winter dormancy in favour of a reproductive advantage. This hypothesis has now been confirmed in a data analysis, published in Scientific Reports, of dormice populations living in large outdoor enclosures. The shortened winter hibernation of aging males and females were due to an increase in reproductive activity. Older animals also delay the onset of hibernation and emerge earlier in the season.

The article „Effects of aging on timing of hibernation and reproduction 7“ by Claudia Bieber, Christopher Turbill and Thomas Ruf was published in Scientific Reports.

Mehr Info 8

(Web editor, 31 October 2018)



News archive... 9



Internal Logins


To top


Donate/become a member

Your donation supports wildlife research.

Membership fees and donations  16are tax-deductible in Austria.


Wilhelminenberg Seminar

Every Wednesday during the academic semester the "Wilhelminenberg Seminar" takes place at our house, a scientific colloquium where leading scientists from around the world present their latest research.  

Seminar programme 17


General Contact


Savoyenstraße 1
A-1160 Wien

T +43 (1) 25077-7900
F +43 (1) 25077-7941

Email FIWI