Species Survival Commission

SSC Steering Committee member profiles


Jon Paul Rodríguez

SSC Chair Dr Jon Paul Rodríguez is Professor at the Center for Ecology of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Investigations (Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Científicas ― IVIC), and he is a founder, past Board Member (1987-2001, 2009-2012) and President (2001-2008, 2013-present) of Provita (a Venezuelan conservation NGO established in 1987). His undergraduate degree in biology is from Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas (1991). He was then awarded a Fulbright scholarship for a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University (1999).  In addition to serving on the Steering Committee of SSC, Jon Paul is actively involved in the development of the IUCN Red List of Ecosystems, an initiative led by the Commission on Ecosystem Management. His work focuses on understanding patterns in the spatial distribution of threatened species and ecosystems, as well as the underlying causes of these patterns, and the development of policy guidelines for biodiversity conservation. He is author or co-author of more than 150 publications, including many peer-reviewed articles in acclaimed scientific journals.


Prof Luigi BoitaniProf Luigi Boitani Regional Vice-Chair for West Europe. Luigi is professor of Conservation Biology and Animal Ecology at the University of Rome, and Head of the Department of Animal and Human Biology. He is also Founder and Director of the Masters program “Conservation of animal biodiversity”. He is Affiliated Professor at the Department of Natural Resources, Idaho University, Moscow and member of the College of Graduate Studies. Luigi’s primary research focuses on the study of wolf ecology in Italy, modelling of mammal distributions in Italy, Africa and South East Asia, and protected areas design and management in Italy and Africa. He is a member of more than 25 professional organizations, working groups, and Boards of Governors including Founder and President of the Institute of Applied Ecology, Rome. Luigi has been involved with IUCN and SSC for many years, including as one of the leaders in the development of the Species Information Service, Red List Committee member, and a member of several Specialist Groups. Geographic areas of expertise: Africa, Southeast Asia, Europe


Onnie ByersDr Onnie Byers Chair - Conservation Breeding Specialist Group.  Onnie earned her Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the University of Minnesota and completed a post doctoral fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington D.C. She was a member of the National Zoological Park's Mobile Laboratory Research team, and participated in reproductive studies involving cheetah, pumas, tigers and giant panda. Onnie joined the SSC’s Conservation Breeding Specialist Group in 1991 as a Program Officer and was promoted to the position of Executive Director in 2005, and appointed Chair in 2011. In addition to leading the organization, Onnie shares with CBSG’s Program Officers responsibility for organization, design and facilitation of a wide range of Species Conservation Planning and other CBSG workshops. Onnie is dedicated to the transfer of these tools and processes to conservationists around the world through the establishment and nurturing of CBSG's regional and national Networks, the work of the SSC’s Species Conservation Planning Sub-Committee, and the development and implementation of mass collaboration tools for conservation. Onnie serves on the Conservation and Sustainability Committee of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and is on the Board of Directors of Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL).  Geographic area of expertise: global


Dr Claudio CampagnaDr Claudio Campagna is a Wildlife Conservation Society conservation zoologist, with an MD from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in animal behaviour from the University of California at Santa Cruz. For his work on the conservation of the Patagonian Sea, he has been elected a Pew Fellow in marine conservation. Claudio divides his efforts into three areas: field research on the biology of marine mammals, conducted at Peninsula Valdes (Argentina); marine conservation (particularly protected areas work); and writing essays and fiction. He is convinced of the urgent need to promote the conservation agenda using creative communication tools. Claudio has published widely in scientific literature and has been serving on the SSC Steering Committee since 2004, is Co-Chair of the IUCN SSC Marine Conservation Sub-Committee, and is a member of the Pinniped Specialist Group. Geographic areas of expertise: global


Topilztin Contreras MacBeathProf Topiltzin Contreras MacBeath is Professor at the Biological Research Center of the Autonomous University of the State Morelos, in central Mexico, where he is also Head of the Conservation Biology work group. His main research interests are related to freshwater ecosystems and endangered fish species conservation. He has described and published aspects of the biology and ecology and conservation of Mexican Freshwater fishes. Since 2005, Topis has been representative for Mesoamerica and the Caribbean for the Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, created by IUCN-SSC in collaboration with Wetlands International. Since 1997, he has coordinated the Mesoamerican Network of Biotic Resources (REDMESO) which brings together 23 public universities in the Mesoamerican region. The network conducts research projects and develops technologies designed to support the sustainable management of ecosystems, having respect for cultural and biological diversity. Topis has also been involved in many commissions related to biodiversity and natural resources conservation and management, such as the Invasive Species Commission related to NAFTA and has served as an advisor to the Mexican Government in Sustainable Development issues. He is President of the advisory Committee of the Natural Protected Area “Corredor Biológico Chichinautzin” where he has been working for 20 years with other researchers, local authorities and stakeholders in designing and implementing strategies directed towards the sustainable management of the area. Geographic areas of expertise: Mesoamerica


Dr Rosie CooneyDr Rosie Cooney is the Chair of the CEESP/SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi) and a Visiting Fellow at the University of NSW. Rosie is trained as a zoologist and in law and works at the interface of biodiversity conservation, rural livelihoods, and environmental policy and regulation. She has over 15 years experience in international and national policy research, analysis and development within major international NGOs, as an independent consultant, and convening courses in several Australian universities. Her areas of expertise are governance and management of sustainable use of wild resources, hunting, wildlife trade, community-based responses to illegal wildlife trade, and environmental governance, with a strong focus on seeking approaches that both meet human needs and conserve biodiversity. Rosie was appointed as an inaugural member of the UN Secretary-General's Scientific Advisory Board, is a lead author on the Intergovernment Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services regional assessment for the Asia-Pacific Region and its Sustainable Use assessment, and is the Vice Chair of the Collaborative Partnership on Wildlife. She holds a PhD in Zoology from Cambridge and a BSc (Hons)/LLB(Hons) from the Australian National University.  Geographic areas of expertise: global


Ehab EidEhab Eid Regional Vice-Chair for West Asia. Ehab is an expert in biodiversity conservation, zoology, CITES and protected areas management from Jordan and the West Asia region. He holds a master degree in conservation, access and management of species in trade from the International University of Andalucía, Spain, and a B.Sc degree in biological science from the University of Jordan. Ehab Eid developed his experience and knowledge in marine and terrestrial biodiversity as a research assistant at the Marine Science Station of Jordan from 2001 till 2005, followed by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature from 2005 until 2013, as the head of research and survey section. Currently, he is the Director of the Royal Marine Conservation Society of Jordan. He is the vice chair of the Federation for Environmental NGOs in Jordan, and a member in several bodies including the national biodiversity committee of Jordan, the national committee of IUCN ROWA, the IUCN regional committee for West Asia and a member of several IUCN Commission Specialist Groups (both WCPA and SSC). He has led several training workshops, aiming to raise the skills and knowledge of Middle East conservationist in research methodologies, biodiversity conservation, climate change and protected areas management and has published several peer-reviewed articles, guides and books. He developed the first Red List of Jordan’s mammals, which will be released soon, and also contributed to several Red List assessments for mammals and reptiles in the Arabian Peninsula.  Geographic areas of expertise: West Asia


Dmitry GeltmanDr Dmitry Geltman Regional Vice-Chair for East Europe, North and Central Asia. Dmitry graduated from the Belarus State University in 1979. He got his Ph.D. from the Komarov Botanical Institute (1983) and Dr. Sci. Degree from the Moscow State University (2016). Dmitry started his work for the Komarov Botanical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences in 1983 and since 2017 he is a director of this famous institute (acting director 2016–2017). His scientific expertise is vascular plants taxonomy (mainly Urticaceae and Euphorbia), conservation, invasive species, botanical collections management and history of botany. Dmitry was a deputy editor of the botanical part of the first Red Data Book of the Russian Federation (1988), author of the new edition of this book (2008), author and editor of Red Data Books of the City of St. Petersburg (2004, new edition expected in 2018) and the Leningrad Region (2000). He was also a supervisor of several projects of monitoring of endangered plant species occurring in the city of St. Petersburg. During 2006–2009 Dmitry was a coordinator for the Russian Federation in the project on the IUCN conservation status assessment of vascular plants endemic to the Caucasus. Geographic area of expertise: East Europe, Caucasus.


Piero GenovesiDr Piero Genovesi earned a Master degree in biological sciences and a PhD in animal ecology at the University of Rome. He is senior conservationist with the Institute for Environmental Protection and Research in Rome, and research associate with the Concordia University, Montreal. He was a member of the IUCN Red List Committee from 2011 to September 2013.
Piero has a long history of working in carnivore conservation, supervising the reintroduction of Brown bears in the Italian Alps, and coordinating the publication of national action plans for the wolf, the brown bear and the otter. He has been an active member of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, and has been vice president of the association for several years. He has also been active in animal translocations, coordinating the establishment of national guidelines on animal translocation in 1996, which were revised in 2007. Piero has been an active member of the IUCN Reintroduction Specialist Group since 1996, and has been part of the SSC task force that produced the IUCN Guidelines on Reintroductions and other Conservation Translocations, adopted by IUCN in 2012.

Piero’s main area of activity is invasive species. Since 2000, he has chaired of the European section of the IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG), and was nominated chair of the Specialist Group in 2009. The ISSG is a very active network of about 200 leading experts from over 40 countries of the world, which is linked to a broader group of over 1,000 experts and practitioners connected to the Aliens-list. One key area of activity of ISSG is its support of policy making, and in this regard Piero is a Member of the Liaison Group on invasive alien species of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a member of the Management Board of the Global Invasive Species Programme (GISP), and collaborates with several international institutions such as the European Union, the Bern Convention, the European Environment Agency, and the Convention on Migratory Species. He has attended numerous political meetings, in different roles, and has been in the Italian delegation at several meetings, including in 2010 at COP 11 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Nagoya.

Between 2000 and 2003, Piero worked at the establishment of a European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species, which was adopted by the Bern Convention in 2003. In 2008-2009, he was the coordinator of the European Environmental Agency programme “Towards an early warning and information system for invasive alien species (IAS) threatening biodiversity in Europe”.

Since 2012, Piero has led the SSC-WCPA Task Force on Invasive Alien Species in Protected Areas, aimed at developing guidelines on the issue. He contributed to the Global Biodiversity Outlook 3, is a partner of the Biodiversity Indicator Partnership, a friend of Target 12 of the Strategic Plan 2020 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and IUCN Champion of Target 9.

Piero has published books, book chapters, and articles in several high rank journals, including Science, Nature, PNAS, PLoS one, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environments, Conservation Biology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution and Global Change Biology. He has been Associate Editor of several journals (Wildlife Biology, Ursus), invited editor of special issues of “Ecology, Ethology and Evolution” and of “Science for Environment Policy”. He is editor of Aliens, the newsletter of ISSG. Geographic areas of expertise: global 


Brahim HaddaneDr Brahim Haddane is an IUCN Regional Councillor for Africa. In 1980, he became involved in the mobilisation of Civil Society and Public Opinion to promote nature conservation, the fight against the overexploitation of natural resources, the degradation of biodiversity and pollution of the environment, whilst defending the idea of the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from natural resources. He began by creating the Moroccan Association for the Protection of the Environment (ASMAPE). In the process, he got involved with IUCN and became a member of the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). After which, he increased his contribution by working with other commissions, in particular the Species Survival Commission (SSC), the joint CEESP (Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy) - SSC Sustainable Use and Livelihoods Specialist Group (SULi), and the Commission on Education and Communication (CEC). He graduated as a veterinary biologist and later joined the Forest Department where he was in charge of ex situ wildlife management. He is a member of the Natural Committee for Biodiversity, working group on mammals and PAM (Aromatic, Medicinal and Cosmetic Plants). In 2005, he joined the Royal Foundation for Environmental Protection as Director of Exotic Gardens of Rabat-Salé focusing on biodiversity conservation. Geographic areas of expertise: North Africa, Mediterranean Basin 


Ian HarrisonIan Harrison obtained his Ph.D. in systematic ichthyology at the University of Bristol, UK. He has conducted research on marine and freshwater fishes from several parts of the world, including fieldwork in Europe, Central and South America, West and Western Central Africa, the Philippines, and the Central Pacific. He was based at the American Museum of Natural History in New York from 1996 until 2013, and has worked for Conservation International (CI) and IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and Global Species Programme since 2008. He is currently the Freshwater Specialist for the CI’s Moore Center for Science, where he is helping develop CI’s Freshwater Science Strategy as well as CI’s broader, institutional-wide Freshwater Initiative. He is also the Technical Officer for the IUCN SSC/Wetlands International Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, co-chair of the IUCN-SSC Freshwater Conservation Subcommittee and IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas Freshwater Task Force; co-Chair of the Freshwater Biodiversity Working Group of the Sustainable Water Future Programme, and part of the Advisory Group of GEO’s Freshwater Biodiversity Observation Network. He has been an Associate Editor for the Journal of Fish Biology for several years and has published over 50 scientific papers and book/report chapters on the biology and conservation of fishes, and conservation of freshwater ecosystems. He has lead several workshops at international conferences, presenting the work of both Conservation International and IUCN.


Axel HochkirchDr Axel Hochkirch is the manager of a scientific laboratory and assistant professor in the Department of Biogeography at Trier University, Germany. He is an expert in insect biodiversity and conservation genetics, and the author or co-author of nearly 100 publications dealing with a broad field of biodiversity-related topics (conservation biology, population genetics, ecology, behavioural biology, taxonomy, phylogenetics, evolutionary biology). Axel has been active in conservation since his youth, having been involved in several conservation projects in Germany, particularly for grasshoppers, bush-crickets and crickets (Orthoptera), but also for dragonflies, butterflies, amphibians and birds. During his civilian service at a NGO in northern Germany (BUND Diepholzer Moorniederung), he became an expert in Orthoptera conservation. In 1996, he received his diploma degree (comparable to master degree) at the University of Bremen on the ecology and conservation of endemic rainforest grasshoppers in the East Usambara Mountains, Tanzania (in cooperation with the IUCN “East Usambara Catchment Forest Project”). In 2001, he received his PhD at the University of Bremen on the evolution, biogeography, behaviour and ecology of grasshoppers in Tanzania. Since 2008, Axel has been based at Trier University, where he is teaching conservation biology, molecular ecology and conservation genetics. He has been the chair of the IUCN SSC Grasshopper Specialist Group since 2010. Geographic areas of expertise: Africa, Europe, Oceanic Islands


Mike HoffmannMike Hoffmann, a South African national, is currently based at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) where he heads up the organization’s global conservation programmes. Prior to joining ZSL in 2017, he spent 7 years based in the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, UK, providing high-level technical, scientific and policy leadership to the SSC, the largest network of conservation professionals in the world. A mammologist by training, his background includes work in inter-governmental (IUCN), non-governmental (ZSL, Conservation International) and academic (University of Oxford, University of Pretoria) environments, with extensive experience in international species conservation, biodiversity-related policy, extinction risk assessment, environmental safeguards and the private sector, and public outreach. Well regarded for his diplomatic facilitation and negotiation abilities, he has previously served as Chair of the 25-member IUCN Red List Committee and the advisory committee to the US$20-million Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme. He is a member of the IUCN SSC Afrotheria, Antelope, Bear and Canid Specialist Groups, serving as the Red List Authority focal point for canids. He has published some 50 peer-reviewed papers (8 in the journals Nature and Science) and edited six books. Geographic areas of expertise: global


Jonathan HuttonJon Hutton is Director of the Luc Hoffmann Institute based in WWF-International’s offices in Switzerland. He joined the institute in March 2016 after ten years as Director of the World Conservation Monitoring Centre in the UK. Jon joined UNEP in this role in 2005 having previously worked for 25 years in Africa on nature conservation and rural development issues. An ecologist who graduated from the University of Cambridge in 1978, Jon studied African wildlife management at the University of Zimbabwe, completing a DPhil in crocodile ecology in 1984. He went on to work in southern Africa in a range of positions in governments, NGOs and the private sector in the fields of natural resource management and rural development. During his years in Africa he gained a diverse portfolio of professional skills and some unique insights into the complex interplay between politics, economics and environmental policy. Jon Hutton has produced more than 50 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters as well as dozens of reports and conference proceedings covering issues such as conservation policy, wildlife and protected area management, community-based natural resource management, the sustainable use of natural resources and the relationship between conservation and poverty. In recognition of his academic interests he was elected an Honorary Professor of Sustainable Resource Management at the University of Kent in 2007 and a By-Fellow of Hughes Hall College, Cambridge, in 2017.


Vololoniaina H. JeannodaProf Vololoniaina H. Jeannoda is a professor of Botany at the Department of Plant Biology and Ecology where she teaches mainly Plant Systematics to undergraduate and graduate students. As a University professor, she has worked with many students supervising their Master or PhD research in various themes, such as plant architecture, plant systematics, ethnobotany, plant ecology, mangroves, integrated coastal zones management. Over the last ten years, she has been at the head of a multidisciplinary international team that focused on Madagascar wild and cultivated yams. Her research on yams has brought her to be involved in many activities dealing with yam inventory, systematic, ecology, uses, promotion, sustainable management, conservation, and local community participation. She has participated as an expert to many yam related projects such as the Bioversity International project on crop wild relatives’ conservation. She has been in the Scientific Committee of the Madagascar Plant Specialist Group from its beginning and has been appointed as the chair person of the Group in 2013. She is also a member of the CITES Scientific Authority for Flora in Madagascar and has contributed to the inscription of the Madagascar ebony and rosewoods in CITES appendix 2 at the last CITES COP in 2013. Finally, she is part of the Scientific Committee of the International Conference which will be organized by UNESCO in April 2014 on the theme “What botanists for the 21th Century? Professions, challenges and opportunities.” She is a founding member of the Madagascar Biodiversity Trust Fund and has acted as a member of the board of trustees to the Trust Fund from its creation in 2005 until 2013. This organization is one of the most important Funds in Africa and was created in order to ensure in the long term the sustainable management of protected areas in Madagascar. Geographic areas of expertise: Madagascar


Olga KreverOlga Krever is an expert on biodiversity conservation and protected areas in Russia. In 1986 she graduated from Kazan State University, Biological Faculty, Dept. of Nature Conservation. After she had worked at the Crane Breeding Center of Oka State Nature Biosphere Reserve and in the scientific and educational department of the Kazan ZOO, she joined the IUCN from 1998-2003 as a Coordinator of the Programme on biodiversity conservation and as Manager of projects on Protected Areas of the Representative Office for Russia and CIS countries.  

In 2003, she joined the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Russian Federation, where she held the position of Head of the Protected Areas Legislative Division and pioneered the establishment of the legislative basis for environmental protection, biodiversity conservation, Protected Areas, and of the conservation strategy for Russia’s threatened species. She was also at that time the Deputy Head of the Department of State Policy of the Environment from 2004-2008, and National Director of the UNDP/GEF project on “Biodiversity Conservation in 4 Protected Areas of Kamchatka.”

From 2007 to 2012, Olga served as a member of the Upper Environmental Council of the Committee for Natural Resources, Nature Use and Environment of the Russian Federal Parliament. Since 2011, she is the Advisor extraordinary to the Head of the Federal Supervisory Service for Management Resources Use (Rosprirodnadzor).  She works in close cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. In 2010, she coordinated the International Tiger Forum in St.-Petersburg, and is now implementing the Ministry for Global Tiger Recovery Programme.

In 2013, she was a Coordinator of the International Polar Bear Forum. Working for the Ministry, she is also responsible for the preparation and the implementation of the Polar Bear Circumpolar Action Plan, and since 2013, for the implementation Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Olga also works as a Consultant to the Russian Government and its representatives, as well for environmental NGO such as WWF-Russia, Wild Salmon Center, UNDP, etc. Olga is a member of the Upper Environmental Council of the Committee for Natural Resources, Nature Use and Ecological of the Russian Federal Parliament. She is an author of several analytical documents, including analytical reviews on Protected Areas issues, the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation, renewing the methodological basis for Redlisting in Russia, and the Draft Strategy on Threatened Species Conservation in Russia. She is also an editor of the national strategies for conservation of threatened species in Russia (Polar Bear, Amur Tiger, Far Eastern Leopard, Snow Leopard, European Bison etc.). Geographic areas of expertise: Russia


Mirza KusriniDr Mirza D. Kusrini Regional Vice-Chair for South and East Asia. Mirza is lecturer in the Department of Forest Resources Conservation & Ecotourism at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. She is an enthusiastic advocate of amphibian and reptile conservation and serves as Chair of the Indonesian Herpetologist Society. Her research is mostly on the biodiversity and ecology of amphibians. Mirza is also passionate on conservation education for children. She leads several conservation education project in Indonesia through wildlife camps, teacher training and school counselling. Geographic areas of expertise: Southeast Asia 


Dr Frédéric LaunayDr Frédéric Launay is Senior Advisor to the Secretary General of the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi, UAE. His role is to advise the Secretary General on any environmental topics or management issues within the Agency and he is also responsible for the management of the Abu Dhabi Global Environmental Data Initiative (AGEDI). In addition, Fred is the Director of the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, a philanthropic endowment fund dedicated to support species conservation projects worldwide. Frédéric Launay is the Co-Chair of the IUCN/SSC Reintroduction Specialist Group. Geographic areas of expertise: Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, China, Mongolia, Pakistan, North Africa (Morocco, Tunisia, Libya)


Gabriela LichtensteinDr Gabriela Lichtenstein Regional Vice-Chair for Meso and South America. Gabriela has a MSc in Biology, University of Buenos Aires (1992) and completed a PhD in Behavioral Ecology, King´s College, University of Cambridge (1997) and a Post-doc at the Dept of Geography, University of Buenos Aires (2001).

Since 2001 she has been working as an Independent Researcher (Investigadora Independiente) at the National Research Council (CONICET), Argentina, and since 2009 she has also been a Lecturer for Master courses at the University of Buenos Aires and University of San Martin (UNSAM).

During 2007-2015, Dr Lichtenstein was the Chair of the SSC's South American Camelid Specialist Group (UICN SSC GECS). Her interest in South American camelids started in 1997 while working for IIED-AL when she coordinated research on Community based vicuña management in Peru for the Evaluating Eden Project. From 2001-2005, she took part in the EU funded MACS Project where she studied economic and socio-cultural impacts of vicuna use in Andean countries and their policy implications.

Since 2006 she has been working on a research project on factors affecting the sustainability of guanaco use in Argentina and the development of local incentives for conservation. Research interests also include: managing common pool resources; local participation and empowerment; commodity chain analysis for wild South American fibre and the establishment of trade links to help a fairer and more equitable proportion of benefits to local people. Since 2013 she has been the Director of a project financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology of Argentina on the establishment of a commodity chain for the guanaco fiber (PA.IS). Dr Lichtenstein has published a large number of research papers, book chapters and technical reports. Her interest in articulating research results with policy led her to collaborate with CITES, FWS, the Vicuña Convention, the Ministry of Science and Technology of Argentina, and national and local management authorities. She is a member of SULI; CEESP; and IASC.  Geographic areas of expertise: South America, with focus on Andean countries 


Vivek MenonVivek Menon is a wildlife conservationist, environmental commentator, author and photographer with a passion for elephants. He has been part of the founding of five environmental & nature conservation organizations in India. The winner of the 2001 Rufford Award for International Conservation for his work to save the Asian elephant, Menon is the Founder, Executive Director and CEO of the Wildlife Trust of India as well as Advisor to the International Fund for Animal Welfare. In India, he plays a role in advising the government on natural heritage conservation as a part of several committees including the Project Elephant Steering Committee, National Wildlife Action Plan Committee, CITES Advisory Committee and the Governing Council of the Central Zoo Authority. Internationally, Menon is the Chairperson of the IUCN SSC Asian Elephant Specialist Group since 2013 and a member of the Species Survival Commission Steering Committee of the IUCN, on the International Jury of the Future for Nature Awards (Netherlands) and an Advisor of the Marjan Centre of Kings College, London. He is also the author or editor of ten wildlife books including the recently published bestselling Indian Mammals, A Field Guide, scores of technical reports and more than 160 articles in various scientific and popular publications.


Dr Russell MittermeierDr Russell A. Mittermeier, President of Conservation International, has a long-standing affiliation with SSC and the wider IUCN, beginning in 1974. He is Chair of the SSC Primate Specialist Group and was elected IUCN councillor at the 3rd and 4th IUCN World Conservation Congress. Russ serves as advisor to many international conservation institutions – he was UNEP’s Vice President from 2009-2012 and is patron of the Great Apes Survival Project, among many other roles. Previously he served as Chairman of the World Bank Task Force on Biological Diversity, and as Vice-President for Science, World Wildlife Fund US. Under Russ’s leadership, collaboration between CI and IUCN/SSC has grown significantly. Geographic areas of expertise: South America, Brazil, Madagascar, the Guianas, global.


Gregory M. MuellerDr Gregory Mueller Regional Vice-Chair for North America and the Caribbean. Gregory serves as Negaunee Foundation vice president of science at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Before joining the Garden, Dr. Mueller worked for more than 23 years at The Field Museum as the curator of mycology in the Department of Botany. His research and training programs focus on the biology, ecology, and conservation of fungi, especially mushrooms. He has authored six books and nearly 100 journal articles. He is Chair of the IUCN Mushroom, Bracket, and Puffball Specialist Group; member of the Science Advisory Council for the Illinois Chapter of the Nature Conservancy; member of the Chicago Wilderness Executive Council; and member of the Mayor's (Chicago) Nature and Wildlife Committee. He is lecturer, Committee on Evolutionary Biology at the University of Chicago; adjunct professor, Department of Biological Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago; adjunct professor, Biological Sciences, Northwestern University; and research associate, Department of Botany, The Field Museum. Dr. Mueller has served as president of the Mycological Society of America and as international coordinator for fungal programs at the Costa Rican National Biodiversity Institute. Geographic areas of expertise: global.


Nunia ThomasNunia Thomas, Regional Vice-Chair for Oceania. Nunia is the Director of Fiji’s only local membership based conservation organization – NatureFiji-MareqetiViti (www.naturefiji.org). Nunia was one of the first recipients of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation scholarship for postgraduate research in conservation and taxonomy for Pacific Islanders under the supervision of international experts. This scholarship was awarded at the University of the South Pacific’s Institute of Applied Sciences under the South Pacific Regional Herbarium where Nunia and three other Melanesian students were trained in Herpetology, Botany, Ornithology and Ichthyology from 2003 to 2007.

Nunia’s MSc thesis was on the Spatial distribution of the endemic and Endangered Fiji ground frog (Platymantis vitianus) and the introduced and invasive cane toad (Bufo marinus) on Viwa Island, Tailevu, Fiji. Choosing to specialize in Herpetology, but still maintaining a keen interest in other taxa, Nunia now leads NatureFiji-MareqetiViti towards developing more local taxonomic experts for Fiji through merging science and traditional knowledge, and generating interest among the common Fiji citizen, and interested students about Fiji’s unique species and ecosystems.

Nunia firmly believes that local communities should be given the opportunity to work with field ecologists for a better understanding of and support for ecosystem services, particularly in the fragile ecosystems of Oceania. Since starting with NFMV in 2007, Nunia has launched Fiji’s first web-based Endangered Species Compendium (on the top 50 endangered species in Fiji) – a resource for Fijian students and teachers, has assisted in the development of species recovery plans for key species in the Fiji National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan, reached out and communicated on citizen responsibility for Fiji’s biodiversity. Nunia has published and co-authored papers on iguana and frog ecological data, montane cloud forest research and has written technical reports on herpetofauna and invasive species long term monitoring research in Fiji.

Nunia is the current focal point for the Species working group under Fiji’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action plan, the Fiji national NGO focal point for the Communication, Education and Public Awareness of the Ramsar Convention, is technical advisor on the Fiji Protected Areas Committee and the environment chamber member of the Fiji Forest Certification Standards Steering Committee. Geographic areas of expertise: global


Pricelia TumentaPricelia Tumenta Regional Vice-Chair for Africa. Pricelia is the coordinator of the Centre for Environment and Development Studies in Cameroon. She is a member of the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group and a Senior lecturer in the Department of Forestry, University of Dschang, Cameroon. She is the focal point of the WCASAP initiative for West and Central Africa. Pricelia is a member of the African Lion Working Group and also a member of the Network of Specialists working on Lions in West and Central Africa. She holds an MSc degree in Wildlife Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and a PhD in Conservation Biology from Leiden University in the Netherlands. She has more than ten years of experience working on conservation of biodiversity and protected areas management as a researcher and consultant with national institutions and international NGOs such as WWF, IUCN and WCS in Cameroon. She works on the conservation of large carnivores and the interface of wildlife conservation and human livelihoods. Her area of expertise also includes the use of GIS and remote sensing tools in biodiversity conservation, human wildlife conflict management, Wildlife legislation in Cameroon and illegal trade in wildlife. Her job also involves training and advising students on various aspects biodiversity conservation especially the management of wildlife. She has worked in collaboration with international partners and national institutions in Cameroon in drafting a species conservation action plan for the lion and the development of a National Strategy for the mitigation of human wildlife conflicts in Cameroon.  Geographic areas of expertise: West and Central Africa.


Amanda VincentProf. Amanda Vincent is firmly convinced that we know enough to tackle conservation problems now, even if more information might be valuable. The main challenge is to support the right people in the right way, which is why this Steering Committee role is so interesting. Amanda is a Professor at the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries (formerly the Fisheries Centre) at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She co-founded Project Seahorse (www.projectseahorse.org), a globally-active marine conservation team, and is Chair of the IUCN SSC Seahorse, Pipefish and Stickleback Specialist Group. She has been the SSC’s marine representative on the IUCN Red List Committee since 2010 as well as sitting on the SSC Marine Conservation and Policy Subcommittees.

Amanda has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge (UK) and lots of publications, some of which have (hearteningly) made a difference. More importantly, Amanda and her team have prompted practical gains in marine conservation such as establishing 36 marine protected areas, mobilizing traders to adopt codes of conduct, and generating new global export regulations for marine fishes. Thanks to this work, Amanda was given a Pew Fellow in Marine Conservation, the world’s pre-eminent award in the field, and a Rolex Award for Enterprise… and has twice been one of six global finalists for the Indianapolis Prize for Animal Conservation. Her background includes field work and extensive rough travel in more than 60 countries.


Xie YanDr Yan Xie is an Associate Research Professor at the Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, focusing on Amur Tiger and Protected Areas conservation. From 2005-2012, she was the China Country Program Director of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) during which time she led the WCS China Programme working in Qiangtang and Pamir in western China, Amur tiger habitat in north-east China, and a long-term programme on controlling wildlife trade. She served as coordinator of biodiversity studies under the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, a high level governmental advisory body, for over 10 years, where she made a great contribution to the country’s conservation policy. She is dedicated to provide biodiversity information for better conservation decision making — the Conserving China's Biodiversity website and the China Species Information Service (CSIS) have become the most important biodiversity information hubs in China. Yan also led the evaluation of more than 10,000 species for the China Red List. She is a prolific writer with many important conservation books under her belt including A Guide to the Mammals of China published in 2008.  Geographic areas of expertise: China


Institutional observers

Dr Stuart ButchartDr Stuart Butchart is Chief Scientist at BirdLife International – a global Partnership of over 120 national environmental organisations. He oversees a team of scientists helping the BirdLife Partnership to set robust priorities for conserving species and sites, understanding the key threats to biodiversity and identifying the priority solutions required. BirdLife is the Red List Authority for all birds on the IUCN Red List, and Stu has been involved in this work for over a decade, including leading the development of the Red List Index, sitting on the Red List committee since 2004 and chairing the Red List Technical Working Group from 2009 to 2013. He has worked in conservation science at BirdLife since 2002, having carried out a PhD and post-doctoral research in behavioural ecology at the Department of Zoology, Cambridge, UK. His research publications have covered topics including detecting extinctions, assessing extinction risk, Data Deficient species, deforestation, climate change impacts, protected areas, reintroduction, conservation breeding, invasive alien species eradications, quantifying conservation success, biodiversity indicators, monitoring and ecosystem services.


Will TurnerDr Will Turner, Chief Scientist at Conservation International,  oversees conservation and research in a variety of areas including biodiversity, economics, conservation planning, policy, and monitoring. Dr. Turner studied computer engineering at the University of Texas and earned his Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Arizona. His popular and peer-reviewed writings address issues including species conservation, climate change, ecosystem services, ecology, evolution, cities, monitoring and accountability, and the psychological relationships between people and nature.


Wes SechrestWes Sechrest is a conservation biologist, with a focus on international wildlife conservation. His interests in conservation science vary widely, and include work on threatened species, zoology, protected areas, biodiversity patterns and processes, natural history, environmental science, and the link between academic and applied conservation science. His research focus is on global conservation issues, as well as field-based biodiversity conservation. Dr. Sechrest is an expert on species conservation, and is extensively involved in advancing conservation efforts, particularly for mammals.

He has published numerous scientific papers in leading journals including Science, Nature, BioScience, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. His research has been used to set priorities for international conservation to advance protection of the planet’s biodiversity. Additionally, his work has examined the effectiveness of protected areas for species conservation, as well as how to conserve species in areas under high threat from humans and their activities. He has international work experience in over twenty-five countries.

Currently, Dr. Sechrest is leading work to explore and protect the most biologically important areas on the planet. He serves as Chief Scientist at Global Wildlife Conservation, and along with a team of field biologists is planning and implementing field projects across the planet. He is working on how to identify and conserve threatened species, including how to systematically set conservation priorities.

Additionally, he is working to secure long-term preservation of areas of global biological importance. He collaborates extensively with local, national, and international non- governmental and governmental organizations, both in the USA and abroad. These include the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History, Conservation International, the Field Museum of Natural History, IUCN (The World Conservation Union), the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London, and many universities, among others. The results of his research are being integrated with governments, non-governmental organizations, and other institutions to best conserve the world’s threatened wildlife.


Dr Elizabeth BennettDr Elizabeth Bennett is currently Vice President for Species Conservation at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) based at WCS’s head office in New York. In this role, she oversees WCS’s species conservation programmes around the globe, and in WCS’s zoological collections in New York. Prior to this, she oversaw WCS’s global programmes on hunting and wildlife trade, including addressing bushmeat issues in Africa and wildlife trade in China. An experienced field conservationist, she spent more than 20 years in Malaysia, initially conducting field research on primate ecology and the impacts of hunting and logging on wildlife, then moving into the government policy and legislative arena. Her involvement with IUCN goes back to 1988 when she co-authored the first Threatened Primates of Africa Red Data Book, she is a long-term member of the Primate Specialist Group, and an active participant in all recent IUCN Congresses. Elizabeth writes extensively, with more than 125 scientific and popular publications, focusing especially on wildlife conservation in tropical forests, including primate conservation, and hunting and wildlife trade.


Wendy ElliottWendy Elliot is the Deputy Leader of the Wildlife Practice at WWF-International, working primarily on strategic design, implementation support and evaluation of WWF’s wildlife conservation portfolio. Wendy has worked at the intersection between science and policy for most of her career, leading targeted advocacy initiatives in many contexts, both environmental (e.g. CITES, CMS, IWC) and beyond (e.g. UN Crime Fora, UN Security Council.) Wendy is passionate about strategic campaigning, with particular experience in the fields of oil and gas and wildlife trade. Wendy is a published biologist with a background of field-based conservation in three continents.


Dr Jean-Christophe ViéDr Jean-Christophe Vié is Director General of Fondation Franklinia, a foundation dedicated to the conservation of threatened tree species. He started his new position in January 2018 after 17 years working for the IUCN Secretariat. His involvement with the Species Survival Commission started 25 years ago as a member of several Specialist Groups (Conservation Planning, Primate and Wildlife Health).
In the year 2000, Jean-Christophe joined the IUCN Secretariat as coordinator of its national programme in Guinea Bissau. In 2001, he moved to IUCN Headquarters where he became Deputy Director of its Global Species Programme. During his time there he developed and supervised a number of programmes including regional and global biodiversity species assessments and the assessment of climate change impact on biodiversity. He also coordinated IUCN input for several international agreements (in particular the Convention on Migratory Species) and supported the SSC network. He also developed initiatives supporting conservation action on the ground such as SOS-Save Our Species and the Integrated Tiger Habitat Conservation Programme.

Before working with IUCN, Jean-Christophe gained extensive field experience in various parts of the world where he spent 15 years overall. He started his career as a wildlife veterinarian with a main focus on primates. He then completed a PhD in ecology. He worked on projects focusing on a wide variety of species such Arabian Oryx, marine turtles, manatees, giant otters, black caimans, primates and snakes. He was also involved in the design and management of protected areas, public awareness campaigns and studies on the impact of logging and hunting. This lead him to interact with a variety of stakeholders such as indigenous communities, local governments and administrations, logging companies, hunters, dam builders, fisheries and the private sector in general. He created and directed  a nature conservation  NGO (Kwata), still active in French Guiana where he spent 8 years.

He is a French and Swiss national and is the author of a number of scientific articles and several books including analyses of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.


Doug Cress Doug Cress is the Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA), which provides and leadership and support to over 400 member zoos, aquariums and regional associations in more than 50 countries. Cress previously spent six years (2011-2016) as a Programme Coordinator for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya, where his portfolio included the Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP), and Cress earlier served for a decade as the Executive Director of the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA).
He was also a Vice-President of the Orangutan Conservancy (2007 – 2011) and the Executive Director of the Great Ape Project (2001-2004). Additionally, Cress spent two decades as an award-winning journalist for publications such as The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Daily News, and the Atlanta Constitution, and co-authored the critically acclaimed book, In My Family Tree: A Life with Chimpanzees (2001).


IUCN Secretariat

Dr Jane SmartDr Jane Smart is Global Director of IUCN’s Biodiversity Conservation Group and Director of IUCN’s Global Species Programme. The Biodiversity Conservation Group comprises the Global Species Programme, Global Protected Areas Programme, World Heritage Programme, as well as the Invasive Species Initiative and TRAFFIC. Jane also takes a lead role in facilitating work to implement the Valuing and Conserving Biodiversity Area of IUCN’s Programme (2012-2016). As Director of the Global Species Programme, Jane is responsible for around 45 staff based in Switzerland, Washington DC, US and Cambridge, UK and is responsible for managing the compilation and production of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ™. She is focal point for the Species Survival Commission. Jane trained as a botanist and began her professional life as a plant ecologist. In 1989 Jane founded Plantlife International, becoming its first Chief Executive. In 1993, she initiated Planta Europa, the network of organizations working for plant conservation across Europe. Prior to joining the IUCN Secretariat, Jane was Chair of the IUCN UK National Committee, as well as a long standing member of the IUCN SSC Plant Conservation Committee. In 2003 she was awarded the OBE for services to international conservation.

Steven BroadMr Steven Broad is Executive Director of TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network. He is responsible for TRAFFIC’s global operation as a partnership between WWF and IUCN, and leadership of a team of 120 staff based in 30 countries world-wide. TRAFFIC delivers research findings, policy advice, capacity building and public outreach to address conservation and development concerns related to trade in wild animals and plants, ranging from trade in ivory and tiger products to fisheries, timber and medicinal plants. Working for IUCN and TRAFFIC since the mid-1980s, Mr Broad built up diverse experience in trade research, regulation support, policy, training and facilitation work. He was TRAFFIC’s regional director for the ASEAN region, based in Malaysia during 1993-1995, before taking up his current post. Mr Broad has a B.Sc in Environmental Studies from the University of Hertfordshire and is a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the WWF UK Programme Committee and the Global Agenda Council on Illicit Trade of the World Economic Forum. He also serves as an advisor to the Pew Marine Fellowship Program and the Whitley Awards for Nature Conservation, is Chair of the board of directors of the Marine Aquarium Council and has recently joined the board of FairWild Foundation.

Dr Richard JenkinsDr Richard Jenkins is the Deputy Director of IUCN's Global Species Programme and is based in Cambridge, UK. Before joining IUCN, Richard lived in Madagascar where his work concentrated on species conservation and he established a national NGO that supports communities to conserve and sustainably use biodiversity. For IUCN, his work focuses on the operation and governance of The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and supporting the implementation of CITES.

Dr. Thomas BrooksDr Thomas Brooks, from Brighton, U.K., holds a B.A. (Hons) in Geography from the University of Cambridge (1993) and a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee (1998). He heads Science and Knowledge at IUCN. He also holds visiting positions at ICRAF-the World Agroforestry Center in the University of the Philippines Los Baños and in the Department of Geography of the University of Tasmania. He has extensive field experience in tropical forests of Asia, South America and Africa. His interests lie in threatened species conservation (especially of birds) and in biodiversity hotspots (especially in tropical forests), and he has authored 203 scientific and popular articles, including 92 indexed in the ISI ‘Web of Science’ of which 23 have been in ‘Nature’ or ‘Science’. He has served on the SSC Red List Sub-Committee since 2001, on the SSC Steering Committee since 2004, and on the SSC-WCPA Joint Taskforce on ‘Biodiversity and Protected Areas’ Committee since 2009.

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