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Gabrielle Stalder receives Vienna Science Prize

For the second time in 2012 Dr. Gabrielle Stalder of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology was honoured for her research.  She was awarded the special research prize for water 2012 by the Vienna Environment Protection Department and the Vienna Water Agency.  The title of her prize-winning paper is "Hazard- and risk based concepts for the assessment of microbiological water quality".  The interdisciplinary project was implemented in co-operation with Prof. Regina Sommer (Medical University of Vienna), Prof. Andreas Farnleitner (Vienna University of Technology), and Prof. Chris Walzer (Vetmeduni/FIWI). 

More info (in German)

(Web editor 28 Nov. 2012)

"Desert ships" at the joint "Open House day" of two ministries (BMUKK and BMWF)

On Austria´s national holiday the Federal Ministry for Science and Research and the Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture opened their doors to the public for a joint Open House at Palais Starhemberg, Minoritenplatz 5. On 26 Oktober  2012 interested visitors had the opportunity to visit the historic premises and get a glimpse into he many activities of the two ministries. A team from the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, including from the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, presented a research project on wild bactrian camels in the Mongolian Gobi Desert.

More info (in German)

(Web editor 27 Oct. 2012)

In balance: nature and power in the Alps

As Lead Partner of the new international project recharge.green, which is co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund ERDF) under the umbrella of the Alpine Space Programme, (Total project value 2,7 Mio. €) the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology recently launched the first meeting of co-operating patners from Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Slovenia. Representatives from academia, government, the energy sector, and NGOs met in Vienna from 17-18 Octobr 2012 to clarify objectives and  the different partners´ tasks and responsibilities.   By summer 2015, the project will have come up with practical tools that decision makers can use to balance the needs of regional renewable energy development with those of conserving biodiversity, soils, and ecological connectivity in the landscape.  

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(Web editor 19 Oct. 2012)

Honoured by the Distinguished Environmentalist Award of Mongolia

Prof. Dr. Chris Walzer has been awarded the Distinguished Environmentalist Award by the Mongolian Ministry of Nature and Environment for his contribution to the conservation of Mongolia's rare and endangered species since 1994. The Ministry presented this, their most prestigious award, to Dr. Walzer at a special ceremony in Mongolia.

(Web editor 10 Oct. 2012)

Conference: International Wild Equid Conference 2012

The International Wild Equid Conference took place from 18.-22. September 2012 at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna.  A public information evening was held on 18 September to celebrate the 20-year anniversary of the re-introduction of Przewalsky´s horses in Mongolia.  Chris Walzer and Petra Kaczensky talked about the history and challenges of this successful species conservation project. 

More information at the <link>Conference Website.

(Web editor 24 Sep. 2012)

Conference: International Hibernation Symposium - IHS 2012

The 14th International Hibernation Symposium, organised by FIWI, took place from 8 -14 August 2012 at Hotel Panhans, Semmering, Lower Austria .

More information at the Conference Website.

Ural owls at the OZO Species Protection Days 2012 from 2-5 August at Schönbrunn Zoo

The 2012 OZO Species Protection Days´motto was „Protecting and conserving species".  At Schönbrunn Zoo FIWI again presented the ural owl re-introduction project and the wildlife in Vienna project, next to more than 20 different wildlife-, nature-, and species protection organisations. 


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4th World Lagomorph Conference - 4WLC, Vienna

The 4th World Lagomorph Conference was held at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, July 23-27, 2012, organized by the Vetmeduni Vienna and the University of Life Sciences BOKU).

More information at the Conference Website.

Opening ceremony of the new pathology and clinic rooms

On 5 July 2012 FIWI celebrated the inauguration of the newly refurbished premises of the pathology and clinic rooms. Visitors could view the rooms and toast the successful completion of renovations. Vetmeduni Rector Dr. Sonja Hammerschmid,  o.Univ.Prof. Walter Arnold and Univ. Prof. Chris Walzer praised the work of the veterinary team, who are happy about their newly equipped working environment.

The big sleep, or how to anesthetise a hippo

It may rank fairly low in most lists of pressing problems to be solved but an increasing number of zoos and wildlife collections as well as gamekeepers nevertheless need to come up with an answer:  How do you anaesthetize a hippopotamus? Difficulties are posed not only by the dangers of approaching waking animals but also by hippos’ thick skin and by the animals’ sensitivity to standard anaesthetic methods. A new procedure is now described by Gabrielle Stalder and colleagues around the group of Chris Walzer at FIWI and published in the current issue of the “Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association”. 

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Living longer – variability in infection-fighting genes can be a boon for male survival

Females of mammals (including humans) tend to outlive males, a circumstance that is usually attributed to males´ more aggressive and hence energy-depleting behaviour, especially when they compete for females. This might also explain why males of many species usually show a higher parasite burden than females. Therefore, high variability of immune genes, supposed to reduce susceptibility to pathogens, may be more important for males. Scientists at the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology have now found that male Alpine chamois who possess two different forms of a particular immune gene indeed survive significantly longer than those with two identical copies of the gene. The results are published in the current issue of the international journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.

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A different take on science: FIWI at the Up to Nature-Unplugged-Festival

As part of the Wiener Festwochen, from 15 to 17 June 2012 the Vogeltennwiese (a meadow near the Jubiläumswarte in the Vienna Woods) became a  stage for Outdoor-Performances.  Together with Viennese forest experts the British Live-Art-Duo FrenchMottershead devised interactive workshops about nature.  Theoretical knowledge about the particularities of place were transformed into practical experiences.  On Sat, 16 June from 1pm and on Sun, 17 June from 3pm FIWI´s Andreas Duscher was there to lead participants on the path of native wildlife in a workshop entitled "Understory3". 

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Ural owls at the "GEO Tag der Artenvielfalt" event

The event „GEO Tag der Artenvielfalt“ (GEO Biodiversity Day) in Vienna took place at Cobenzl on15 and 16 June 2012.   As in previous years, the ural owl re-introduction project that is led by FIWI was represented with an information booth. 

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Award in the seventh poster competition for researchers of Vetmeduni Vienna

The winners of the seventh poster competititon for researchers of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, were honoured during an evening event on 15 November 2012.  Two juries, one composed of international scientists and one of journalists from Austrian media organisations had a hard time narrowing down their choices from  47 submitted posters.   Gabrielle Stalder, Igor Loncaric und Chris Walzer (Submitting institutions were the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology and the Institute of Bacteriology, Mycology and Hygiene) for their slug poster "They slime, they ooze, they zoonooze - characterization of enterobacteriaceae with zoonotic potential isolated from the faeces of the spanish slug (Arion lusitanicus)".  Congratulations to the winners!

More info (in German)

(Web editor 16 Nov. 2012)

Open House at Vetmeduni Vienna on 2 June 2012

The University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna had an open house on Saturday, 2 June, 2012 from 10 am to 5 pm.  Around 2000 people particiated in guided tours around the 15 ha campus (1210 Vienna, Veterinärplatz 1) and watched various demonstrations.  The Department for integrative bioloy and evolution was represented with information booths from FIWI and KLIVV on the topic of "The wonderful world of wild animals - research at Wilheminenberg". 

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So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen... - Franz Schober is retiring

He has become an institution at FIWI.  Dr. Franz Schober has been with us from the research institute´s humble beginnings in tight basement rooms on the old premises of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna at linke Bahngasse.  Both as a researcher and leader of the bio-telemery working group and as head of administration he witnessed and helped to shape the development and continuous expansion of the institute.  It is hard to imagine, but unfortunately it is time to say good bye:  Franz Schober is retiring.  On the 14th of May 2012 we celebrated his 60th birthday and at the same time bid him farewell.  We will sorely miss his steady presence.

Visitors for the Ural Owl chicks

On 9 May 2012 prominent visitors came to see two young ural owls.  Leading up to the meeting of the FIWI Support Society we had a ural owl "photo shooting".  NÖ Provincial Counsellor Dr. Stefan Pernkopf, the head of the Provincial Hunting Association Dipl.Ing. Josef Pröll, and Vienna Environment Counsellor Ulli Sima admired the latest offspring of the ural owl re-introduction project.  The project has been running successfully under the leadership of Dr. Richard Zink of the Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology since 2009.  Now the re-introduction sites will be expanded: in the summer of 2012 owls will be released in the Viennese part of the Biosphere Reserve Wienerwald for the first time. 

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Long Night of Research 2012: "Ships of the desert" in dialogue between science and the media

The multi-faceted co-existence of humans, livestock and wild camels will soon be presented in book and film, and is still being studied intensively in a research project: Using the latest genetic and telecommunication tools scientists are examining the evolution of wild camels and their domestication. The researchers of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and of the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna are interacting with the ORF documentary “Wüstenschiffe” (ships of the desert). On 27 April 2012 the project was presented at the Long Night of Research.


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(in German)

When to have kids: a complex question for Hazel dormice

Dr. Claudia Bieber and fellow scientists analysed a capture-recapture data set on common dormice (Muscardinus avellanarius) to investigate the life-history strategy of this species. These small rodents are about the size and weight of a wood mouse (Apodemus sylvaticus), but, unlike their rodent cousins, they hibernate – usually from late September/October to April/May.  While wood mice may reproduce any time between February and October and have multiple litters in one season, common dormice give birth to young either as early as possible after waking up from hibernation, or as late as possible, just in time to get the young fit for hibernation.  

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(Web editor 27 April 2012)