When the need arises, Working Groups or Task Forces are formed to focus on particular elephant conservation and research issues.  On this site you can find information on:

AfESG members at their 2009 meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

AfESG members at their 2009 meeting in Nairobi, Kenya

Photo: Iain Douglas-Hamilton (AfESG)

Membership criteria and appointment process

Specialist Groups of the Species Survival Commission are established for four-year terms, which begin immediately following the quadrennial IUCN World Conservation Congress. The current term began after the most recent Congress in Jeju, South Korea, in September 2012. Members of the AfESG are appointed for four-year terms. On some occasions a mid-quadrennium review of the membership is undertaken, half way through the term. In such cases, new members are appointed until the next IUCN Congress.

Members of the AfESG:

  • are actively involved in some aspect of elephant conservation and/or management, during the 12 months immediately preceding their appointment; and
  • have specific and clear plans to be involved with elephant conservation and management over the coming four years.

Scientists who are in the middle of completing their PhDs on elephants are not usually appointed to the AfESG, due to the high number of graduates who go on to work in other aspects of conservation, and not specifically on elephants.

There is no application process. In the run up to the start of a new quadrennium, the AfESG Secretariat requests all existing members to fill in questionnaires on their activities over the past year, as well as their plans for the next four years, their skill areas and the geographic coverage of their work. Existing members are asked to recommend candidates who could be considered as possible members. Names of possible candidates are also collected from other colleagues, interactions, and research. All potential candidates are then requested to fill in a similar questionnaire. All existing members and new candidates are then reviewed by the AfESG Secretariat and Chair. Where necessary, further information is requested from individual candidates.

The AfESG is a voluntary network, and so it is necessary to limit its size for manageability and effectiveness. The size of the group is kept to about 50 individuals. Recognizing the very different circumstances under which elephants persist throughout Africa, members are selected so that the overall membership encompasses a balance of expertise and experience, covering geographic location and technical specialty. At the same time, an effort is made to maintain institutional memory through longstanding members, as well as to build the capacity of younger scientists and emerging conservation practitioners.