Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group

The mission of the IUCN/SSC African Elephant Specialist Group is to promote the long-term conservation of Africa's elephants throughout their range.

New Update of the African Elephant Database!

The African Elephant Database has recently been updated with the latest summary totals at the continental, sub-regional, and country levels. Visit the database to learn more, and check out the news story below! 


AfESG Members Earned Top SSC Prize

AfESG Chair Holly Dublin and longtime member Tom Milliken were recently recognized for their outstanding contributions to conservation when they received the Sir Peter Scott Award for Conservation Merit. Please click to learn more about this award and their work over the years! 

On this page, you will find a wealth of information about the activities of the AfESG as well as a variety of useful downloads and links.

  • Read Pachyderm, and submit manuscripts for consideration!

Latest News from IUCN on elephants


African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Updated African Elephant Database reveals declining elephant populations

"Definite" plus "Probable" African Elephant numbers have decreased from approximately 550,000 to 470,000 between 2006 and 2013, according to the IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group’s (AfESG) latest update of the African Elephant Database (AED). The AED is the repository of African Elephant survey data from range state governments, NGOs, and other sources of expertise. …  

28 Sep 2015 | News story

London Conference on Illegal Wildlife Trade
12-13 February 2014

World leaders clamp down on the illegal wildlife trade

Heads of State, ministers and high-level representatives of over 40 countries as well as 11 international organizations have committed to taking decisive and urgent action to tackle the global illegal wildlife trade. …   | Dutch

18 Feb 2014 | News story

Elephants in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Urgent deal reached for African Elephants

Key states along the illegal ivory value chain have committed to urgent measures to halt the illegal trade and secure elephant populations across Africa. The agreement was reached at the African Elephant Summit convened by the government of Botswana and IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). …   | Dutch

03 Dec 2013 | News story

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Botswana and IUCN call for global action to stop African elephant poaching

As the surge in African elephant poaching and illegal ivory trade continues, the Government of Botswana and IUCN are convening a high-level summit on the African Elephant calling for stronger global action to halt the illegal trade and secure viable elephant populations across Africa. …  

10 Oct 2013 | News story

An elephant mouth in Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

New report warns of uncertain future for African elephants

Bangkok, 6 March 2013— Populations of elephants in Africa continue to be under severe threat as the illegal trade in ivory grows - with double the numbers of elephants killed and triple the amounts of ivory seized over the last decade. …  

06 Mar 2013 | International news release

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

New data on African elephant populations released

The fifth update on the status of the African elephant released today covers 37 range States and includes new or updated information for 194 sites, including 39 new survey areas, mainly in Eastern and Central Africa. …  

01 Mar 2013 | News story


Experts report highest elephant poaching and ivory smuggling rates in a decade

Elephant poaching levels are the worst in a decade and recorded ivory seizures are at their highest levels since 1989, according to a report published today by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The findings, largely based on information submitted by governments, will be presented and discussed at the 62nd meeting of the CITES Standing Committee to be held in Geneva from 23 to 27 July 2012. …  

22 Jun 2012 | News story

Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)

Looking back on 29 years of elephant and rhino conservation

To commemorate 50 issues of the Pachyderm journal, which began in 1983 as the African Elephant and Rhino Group Newsletter, a special 50th issue has been produced by the IUCN SSC African Elephant, African Rhino and Asian Rhino Specialist Groups. …  

30 Apr 2012 | News story

African Elephant (Loxodonta africana)

Sale of Elephant Meat Increases Threat to Elephants in Central Africa

Elephant meat in Central Africa has an earning potential that could exceed that of ivory according to a new report by the IUCN SSC African Elephant Specialist Group and the CITES Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) programme. To prevent a future increase in elephant poaching, consumer demand for elephant products must be reduced and law enforcement efforts should be focused on those who commission and fund the elephant hunting parties. …  

28 Feb 2012 | News story