SSC Groups


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

Membership Criteria and Appointment Process

Specialist Groups of the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) are established for four-year terms, which begin immediately following the quadrennial IUCN World Conservation Congress. The intersessional period began after the most recent Congress held in Hawaii in September 2016.

Process for membership appointment to the AfESG

Members are invited by the Chair of the AfESG and, as such, 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 outlining their activities over the previous four years, as well as their plans for the next four years, their area of expertise and the geographic coverage of their work. Members that are no longer active or are not intending to be active are not reappointed.

Existing members are also invited to recommend candidates who could be considered as possible new members. Names of possible new members are also collected from other colleagues and from research by the Secretariat. Candidates for membership are then requested to fill in a questionnaire similar to the one filled in by existing members. The information for all existing members and new candidates is then reviewed by the AfESG Secretariat and Chair and, where necessary, further information is requested. Once appointments are made by the Chair, they are then formalised by the SSC. All AfESG members are required to read and accept the SSC Members TOR and the IUCN Code of Conduct for Commission members.

Among other key selection criteria for members of the AfESG they must have been actively working in elephant conservation and/or management in the preceding 12 months and have specific and clear plans to be involved with elephant conservation and/or management over the coming four years, with a focus in one or more of the Group’s priority areas, which for 2017-2020 are:

  1. Compiling, reviewing and synthesizing information on African elephant numbers and distribution across all range states, with a special emphasis on forest populations, within the African Elephant Database;
  2. Enhancing the functionality and capacity of the African Elephant Database;
  3. Fulfilling the AfESG’s reporting mandate to CITES;
  4. Conducting a Red List assessment in 2018;
  5. Supporting strategic and action planning processes at national, regional and continental levels;
  6. Helping to evaluate progress of existing strategies and action plans at all levels;
  7. Analyzing and advising on conflict and co-existence between people and elephants, including land use planning, community-based conservation approaches and the role of communities in combating elephant poaching;
  8. Providing technical guidance on the management of local overabundance and local extinctions, including translocations and reintroductions;
  9. Supporting the conservation and management of elephant range and critical habitats; and
  10. Responding to emerging issues and changing priorities.

Recognizing the very different circumstances under which elephants persist throughout Africa, members are selected so that the overall membership remains effective, impactful and manageable, while encompassing a balance of expertise and experience across range states, as well as technical specialty in the Group’s priority areas. At the same time, an effort is made to maintain institutional memory through active longstanding members, as well as to build the capacity of younger scientists and emerging conservation practitioners, especially range state nationals. 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, within the intersessional period, in other aspects of conservation and not specifically on elephants.

Given the on-going poaching pressures on some elephant populations, the AfESG intends to develop partnerships with other organisations who are directly involved in law enforcement activities, such as intelligence, crime scene management, prosecutions and judicial matters, rather than having a wide base of members with these specialities within the group.

Likewise, we will be pursuing our work to identify the locality and extent of hybrid elephant populations in partnership with relevant experts from other institutions.

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