The name Waldrappteam Conservation and Research is based on the history of the company. In 2001, a team of researchers led by Johannes Fritz began flying with Northern Bald Ibises (German: Waldrapp) – hence the name Waldrappteam. Inspired by the story of Bill Lishman and the Hollywood film ‘Fly away home’, the team tested whether hand-raised juvenile Northern Bald Ibises could be trained to follow their foster parents, who co-pilot in ultralight aircraft, so that the birds could later be guided to their wintering areas.
reintroduce the Northern Bald Ibis in Europe. He was already employed as project manager in the first LIFE-project and also in the new LIFE-project his task includes the coordination of the project team. As project manager he is mainly responsible for the implementation of the project goals and represents the project in public. Johannes studied biology and received his doctorate from the University of Vienna in 2000. He then worked at the Konrad Lorenz Institute in Altenberg and the Konrad Lorenz Research Centre in Grünau, where a sedentary Northern bald Ibis colony is situated.
Lisbet has been an employee of the company since 2022 and supports the management in various tasks that arise on a daily basis. She is also an employee of Zoo Vienna and entrusted with assistance tasks within the framework of the ongoing LIFE-project. Her main areas of work are creating and maintaining the website, managing data and supporting public relations. Lisbet studied biology at the University of Leipzig and after graduating worked for as manager for environmental education and species conservation at the Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany.
Margit has been with the company since 2018. Her tasks mainly concern the areas of accounting and personnel administration. She graduated from the commercial academy in Wörgl, Tyrol, and then worked as a clerk for various companies.
RESEARCH ASSISTANT AND FOSTER MOTHER
Helena studied geography in Eichstätt, Germany, and is continuing her education with a Master in Remote Sensing and Earth Observation at the University of Würzburg. She had her first contact with the project as a volunteer during the human-led migration in 2017. She now covers two areas of responsibility in the company: She has been working as a foster mother since 2019 to prepare juvenile birds for the release program. In addition, she is involved in various research projects and published, among others, a study on spatial modelling of foraging areas for Northern Bald Ibises in the northern foothills of the Alps.
Barbara completed her Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus on Zoology at the University of Vienna. She is now working on her Master’s degree in wildlife ecology and wildlife management at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences in Vienna. As part of her studies, she has already raised juvenile greylag geese at the Konrad Lorenz Research Station Grünau im Almtal. Barbara is working as foster mother within the framework of the human-led Migration 2023 and prepares juvenile Northern Bald Ibises for the release program together with Helena Wehner.
Laura graduated from the Free University of Berlin in 2022 with a degree in veterinary medicine. Before participating in the project, she worked as a veterinarian in a clinic in Brandenburg. She was part-time working in the zoo education team at Zoo Berlin and led school classes and individual visitors through the zoo as a tour guide. Educational work in the field of nature and species conservation is particularly close to her heart. Laura is in charge of the migration camp as part of the human-led migration 2023 and is also responsible for the veterinary care of the birds.
Elisa Perinot held a PhD position in the company as part of the FWF research project Costs and Benefits of Formation Flight in Birds (FWF P 30620-BBL). In this context, she has participated in human-led migration in 2018 and 2019 to collect data on formation flight and energetics of bird flight. Elisa continues to work as a research assistant in the company as part of a research collaboration with the University of Bern. She publishes the results of the research project and is engaged in further data analysis.
During his biology studies at the LMU Munich, Markus was already involved with the Northern Bald Ibis and investigated the sun-bathing behaviour of these birds for his diploma thesis. He has been a member of the Waldrappteam since 2003 and participated in all human-led migrations from 2003 – 2014. He also took on the role of foster parent in 2008 and 2009. He is particularly interested in historical research on the Northern Bald Ibis and the mechanisms of emergence and passing on of migration traditions. Markus works full-time as curator of the ornithology section at the Munich State Zoological Collection.
Bernhard Völkl is a lecturer at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bern and a member of the Animal Welfare Department. He studied biology at the University of Vienna and after several research stays at the CNRS in Strasbourg, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the University of Oxford, he habilitated in behavioural biology and animal welfare at the University of Bern in 2019. Since 2012, he has supervised several research projects in the context of human-led autumn migrations. Specifically, Bernhard has been working on flight techniques, formation flight and the cooperation of animals during formation flight.
Walter Holzmüller is a professional pilot, flight instructor and technician for ultralight aircraft and paragliders. He has successfully participated in numerous competitions in his career. In 2009 he was world champion and in 2012 vice world champion in the category paramotor trike two-seater. Walter has been working for the company as a pilot and as a technician since 2007. He has adapted and continuously optimised the two aircraft used for the specific requirements. Due to his extensive professional experience, he contributes significantly to the optimisation of the human-led migration and thus to the success of the reintroduction project.