Conservation Medicine Unit

Anaesthetising a hippopotamus is a sensitive matter.
Photo of vet anaesthetising a hippopotamus 1
Microscope image of a lung that was examined histologically
Microscope image of a lung that was examined histologically 2
Operation of a wild horse in Hortobagy National Park
Photo of vets operating on a wild horse in Hortobagy National Park 3
A capybara is darted with an anaesthetic
Photo of a capybara darted with an anaesthetic 4

Unit leader: Christian Walzer 5

The conservation medicine unit is concerned with all aspects of wildlife health in relation to the environment, environmental changes, farm animals and human health.  Conservation medicine is a discipline that integrates principles from biology, ecology, physiology, nature conservation and veterinary medicine and applies them to wildlife issues in natural and laboratory settings. 

In addition to epidemiological examinations of the causes, spread and ecology of wildlife diseases our team members also deal with all aspects of prophylactic, diagnostic, and therapeutic wildlife and zoo-animal medicine.  We develop new techniques and continuously improve methods for the safe and species-appropriate anaesthesia and capture of wildlife. 

Pathological examinations 6 of wildlife and zoo-animals provide the possibility of recognizing and understanding known and emerging diseases.  In times of increased mobility and shrinking areas of refuge for wildlife this aspect has gained in importance.  We employ the latest technology (e.g. molecular methods) and well established international cooperations to increase diagnostic precision.

We provide expertise to various global species conservation projects.  Apart from that we also offer training for interested colleagues, biologists and hunters who want to learn more about wildlife diseases, wildlife handling, and capture,- and anaesthesia methods.


Research areas

Diagnosis of infectious and non-infectious wildlife diseases and their relevance for human and animal health and the environment

Development of practical research tools, e.g. in the areas of telemetry and wildlife anaesthesia and development of veterinary medicine techniques for wildlife

Ecological connectivity and biodiversity research

Multidisciplinary research on predators in Europe

International species- and nature conservation


We apply our research results in the following areas:

    Advice and support to government agencies and interest groups in epidemiological investigations (underlying causes of disease development)

    Advice and support to government agencies and interest groups in the definition and examination of diseases at the wildlife/domestic animal/human interface and in the area of wildlife management

    Development of new techniques and improvement of standard methods for safe and species-appropriate anaesthesia and capture of wild animals

    Implementation of research-oriented international and national species conservation projects

    Our project page 7 shows an overview of some of our projects.


      Scientific contact Christian Walzer, Head, Conservation Medicine Unit, Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vetmeduni Vienna

      T. +43 (1) 25077-7180

      Email Chris Walzer


      Projects of the Conservation Medicine Unit

      Klick here 7 to learn more about some of the projects of the Conservation Medicine Unit.


      General Contact


      Savoyenstraße 1
      A-1160 Wien

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

      Email FIWI


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