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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 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
A "OneHealth" approach as world view

In 2004, the term “climate change” was first mentioned in the dictionary - today hardly a day goes by without one being confronted with the topic. The influences and effects are diverse and affect people, animals, and the environment. In this context, a "ONE HEALTH" approach is essential. You can read more about this in an interview (in German) with the head of the Conservation Medicine Unit, Chris Walzer, published in Vetmed magazine 01/2020.

Why a OneHealth approach is needed to fight global pandemics

You can find a number of interesting and relevant articles on this topic, for example here.

More on the One Health topic: The Berlin Principles