Urban Wildlife Institute

About the Urban Wildlife Institute

Utilizing Lincoln Park Zoo’s diverse scientific specialties, the Urban Wildlife Institute studies the interaction between urban development and the natural ecosystem to develop scientific standards for minimizing conflict between these overlapping areas. Landscape ecology, population biology, epidemiology, endocrinology, veterinary medicine and other core disciplines contribute to an increased understanding of ecosystem health in an urban setting. The Urban Wildlife Institute aims to use Chicago as a model for urban areas struggling to deal with wildlife relocation, rehabilitation, disease and conflicts.

One issue receiving special emphasis is the transmission of disease from animals to humans—another byproduct of urban sprawl. By studying how people and animals interact in an urban setting, the Urban Wildlife Institute can help scientists to better understand—and curb—zoonotic disease threats such as West Nile virus, rabies and avian influenza.

Supported by a $1.5 million grant from the Davee Foundation, the Urban Wildlife Institute is forming partnerships with local nature and conservation organizations and conducting pilot studies into ecosystem health and human-wildlife interaction. By developing standards for managing urban wildlife issues, the institute is creating a conflict-management model that can be followed worldwide.

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Related Projects

Restoring the Smooth Green Snake
Lincoln Park Zoo is working with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to return the region’s smooth green snakes to their natural habitats.

Urban Wildlife Biodiversity Monitoring
Monitoring stations from city to suburbs will help scientists chronicle the wildlife of the Chicago region.

A woodchuck burrow

The Outcomes of Wildlife Relocation
Lincoln Park Zoo is collaborating with the University of Illinois to study woodchuck translocations throughout the region, building a better understanding of translocation's effectiveness as a solution.

Rabbit Management Study at Lincoln Park Zoo
The zoo’s commitment to finding non-lethal solutions for conflicts between animals and people begins at home.

Urban Black-tailed Prairie Dog Ecology
A long-term study to unravel the role of black-tailed prairie dogs in urban ecosystems.

The zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute is using non-invasive techniques to study Chicago-area bat species, including big brown bats. Photo by Liam McGuire.

Monitoring Bat Diversity in and Around Chicago
At a time when bat populations across the country are declining, the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute is using non-invasive techniques to study bat species in the greater Chicago area.

Bird surveys a century apart in Lincoln Park can shed light on the impact of urbanization.

Surveying Lincoln Park's Bird Species
By comparing bird surveys in Lincoln Park to results from a century ago, Urban Wildlife Institute scientists can shed light on the impact of urbanization. 

Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to restore the meadow jumping mouse, an important grasslands species, to northern Illinois.

Meadow Jumping Mice Recovery Project
Lincoln Park Zoo is partnering with the Lake County Forest Preserve District to restore the meadow jumping mouse, an important grasslands species, to northern Illinois.

Researchers

Seth Magle, Ph.D.
Director

Allison Sacerdote-Velat, Ph. D.
Reintroduction Biologist

Liza Watson Lehrer, M.S.
Urban Wildlife Ecologist

Mason Fidino
Coordinator of Wildlife Management

Julia Kilgour, M.S.
Adjunct Scientist
Mary Beth Manjerovic, Lincoln Park Zoo Mary Beth Manjerovic, Ph.D.
Wildlife Disease Ecologist
Joe Frumkin is a research intern in Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute Joe Frumkin
Research Intern
Patrick Wolff, M.S. is a research technician in Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute and Davee Center for Epidemiology and Endocrinology

Patrick Wolff, M.S.
Research Technician