Leibniz Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung | Heribert Hofer, Thomas Hildebrandt, Andrew Tilker, Steven Seet, Jan Zwilling, Sónia de Jesus Fontes, Katharina Herrmann
Come and meet the Conservation Heroes living in your city!
Conservation is the act of protecting Earth’s natural resources for current and future generations. Human population growth has led to unsustainable rates of consumption of our natural resources, resulting in a loss of biodiversity. Pollution, climate change, habitat destruction and fragmentation, the introduction of invasive species, overexploitation and poaching are some of the main factors that drives biodiversity loss. All these factors are human-made.
It is essential to understand that us, humans, are part of this Earth’s diversity, and that we depend on its overall balance like all living beings. Many wildlife species perform vital roles in ecosystems. Disturbances affecting them are likely to impact through the system. This leads to the loss of important ecosystem services, which affects humankind. One recent prominent example is the decline of pollinators.
Extinction is considered a normal, a natural process. But scientists have estimated that human activity has increased this rate, being a thousand times faster. Therefore, we are now facing mass extinction of many species and the destruction of many ecosystems in an unnatural and imbalanced way.
This fast decline of biodiversity and the understanding of its present and future impacts is moving a growing number of people to take action against it. They try to find a way to conserve our existing resources and at least slow down this trend.
What is happening in Berlin to preserve a healthy future Earth?
Join us in this engaging wild webinar and learn about the work done at two major institutions in the field of nature conservation that are based in Berlin!
PUBLIC LECTURE AND PANEL DISCUSSION VIA LIVESTREAM. FOLLOWED BY A Q&A SESSION.
This is a digital event. Shortly before the event starts, the livestream will be made availble on this site. Add the event to your schedule and receive a reminder.
Prof. Heribert Hofer is the director of the Leibniz-IZW. A behavioural ecologist by training, with undergraduate studies in biology and philosophy at University of Saarland and a DPhil in zoology from Oxford University (UK), his research focuses on the behavioural ecology and conservation of mammals, particularly carnivores, the evolutionary epidemiology of wildlife pathogens, stress and animal welfare, illegal hunting and resolving conservation conflicts by stakeholder-led participation. He initiated and led long-term research projects in Tansania (spotted hyena, African wild dog) and Namibia (cheetah) and lived for 12 years as a scientist in the Serengeti in East Africa. He supports the development of an evidence-based, integrated conservation approach and of gender equality in science and conservation. He is a Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society London and a member of the Board of Trustees of WWF Germany.
Prof. Thomas Bernd Hildebrandt heads the department of Reproduction Management at Leibniz-IZW. He studied veterinary medicine at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, received his doctorate summa cum laude from Freie Universität Berlin and is certified as a zoo, wildlife and game veterinarian. In his special field, reproduction biology, he is one of the pioneers of assisted reproduction in large mammals, including elephants, rhinos, big cats, and panda bears. Professor of Wildlife Reproduction Medicine at Freie Universität Berlin, he is also represented in a number of professional societies; he is an Honorary Professorial Fellow Life Sciences at Melbourne University, Research Associate of the Smithsonian Institution (National Zoological Park), Fellow of the Zoological Society of San Diego Zoo, Scientific Associate of the Taronga Conservation Society Australia, Conservation Fellow of the Zoological Society London and Veterinary Advisor for the European elephant Taxon Advisory Group.
Andrew Tilker is Asian Species Officer at Global Wildlife Conservation and a doctoral student with the Department of Ecological Dynamics at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research. His work focuses on the conservation of rare and endemic mammal species in the Annamite mountains of Vietnam and Laos, and the ongoing tropical defaunation crisis more broadly. In all aspects of his work, Andrew tries to use ecological research to inform on-the-ground conservation actions.
Head of Public Relations, Science Communication, International Conferences & Fundraising
After studying political economics, psychology, ethnology and sociology, Steven Seet graduated in sociology. After six years having a own full service advertising agency he started his career in strategic Public Relations, Political Communication and Science Communication at the Leibniz-IZW. He is also responsible for organising national and international congresses and events. As Head of Fundraising he develops alternative Fundraising strategies. Seet received several communication awards and is consultant for press, media and stakeholder communication.
Jan Zwilling studied geography at Humboldt University of Berlin and worked in science communication throughout his entire career for various scientific organisations. Since 2018 he helps spreading the word about the research for conservation at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo- und Wildlife Research. Combining his passion for nature photography and science communication he strives to tell visual stories about scientific advances that significantly help nature conservation. He is a member of the German Society for Nature Photography (GDT) and the Rhino & Forest Fund (RFF).
Sónia de Jesus Fontes is a Portuguese veterinarian with a particular interest in the field of wildlife conservation. As a young student, she did volunteer work at the Rehabilitation and Release Wildlife Center (LxCRAS), in Lisbon. Sónia went on to obtain her Master degree at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, working on the reproductive management of captive elephants. For the past years, she has been committed to investigating possible hereditary and environmental factors involved in a viral disease, responsible for the death of many Asian elephant calves, both in zoological institutions and in the wild. At the moment, she is finishing her doctoral studies at Leibniz-IZW on the epidemiology and coagulation status impact in the Elephant Endotheliotropic Herpesvirus haemorrhagic disease (EEHV-HD) in Asian elephants.
She looks forward to continuing working and helping to improve wildlife conservation in her future.
Katharina Herrmann has been interested in animals in general, and zoos in particular, since early childhood. Before and during her bachelor’s degree in wildlife management at the University of Van Hall Larenstein (NL), Katharina completed various internships, e.g. in the animal care department at Berlin Zoo. She has also conducted field research on wild chimpanzee groups in Uganda and worked in the population management team at Taronga Zoo, in Sydney. After graduating with a Master of Science degree on Zoo Conservation Biology from the University of Plymouth (UK), Katharina worked for the European Zoo and Aquaria Association (EAZA) in the Animal Programmes and Conservation team. Her role was to help the more than 400 EAZA Member zoos to optimally manage the EAZA Ex-situ Programmes and thus contribute to the long-term preservation of threatened animal species and ecosystems. Since April 2020, she is employed as Conservation Coordinator for Berlin Zoo and Tierpark Berlin.
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