Asian Elephant Specialist Group

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 14, 2022, 14:35

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a vital science and wildlife knowledge forum for field conservationists and academics involved in protecting Asian elephants and their habitats in 13 Range States, where these elephants are found in abundance.

It was created under the Species Survival Commission (SSC) of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

What is the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is an international association of wildlife experts and field conservationists involved in studying, managing, monitoring, protecting, and conserving Elephas Maximum or Asian Elephants. The group's primary objective is to promote, encourage, and support Asian elephant conservation and aid efforts to increase their population to decent levels.

What is the Primary Objective of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

The AsESG functions as Asian Elephant Red List Authority. It conducts Red List assessments of Asian elephants for including the species in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List. The AsESG has played a key role in developing the International Trade in Endangered Species Convention (CITES) for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and designing the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS).

The primary objective of the AsESG is to monitor and evaluate biodiversity, identify the threats to biodiversity, foster conservation action, and conduct meetings for biodiversity conservation.

Who are the members of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

Presently, there are over 110 volunteers in the Asian Elephant Specialist Group. The members of the AsESG are spread over 18 countries and are headed by Chair Mr Vivek Menon from India. Mr Menon is also a member of the IUCN Governing Council. The group's Program Manager is Dr Sandeep Kumar Tiwari, and the AsESG Red List Coordinator is Dr A. Christy Williams.

Every member of the AsESG is actively involved in various aspects and/or management of elephant conservation. Besides the core members, the AsESG also comprises Ex-officio officers from the Ministry-nominated Range States responsible for elephant conservation in the respective countries. The membership of the group is reviewed every four years.

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group has representatives from the following 18 countries:

  • Australia
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Bangladesh
  • Indonesia
  • Singapore
  • Bhutan
  • Japan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Cambodia
  • Lao PDR
  • Thailand
  • China
  • Malaysia
  • United Kingdom
  • Germany
  • Myanmar
  • United States of America

What are the Significant Achievements of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

The AsESG supported the technical preparation and facilitation of the First Asian Elephant Range States' meeting in 2006. It also facilitated the second Asian Elephant Range States meeting in 2017. Besides this, the group has designed and circulated various resource materials on Asian Elephant conservation. It also published a review of Asia's human-elephant conflict mitigation practices.

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group publishes 'Gajah,' a bi-annual journal mentioning the conservation efforts undertaken by all stakeholders, the current Asian elephant population, and other measures regarding IUCN/SSC's AsESG. Gajah has been in continuous circulation since 1986.

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group has played a phenomenal role in sensitising people about the importance of protecting the endangered Asian elephant species. As more and more people become aware of the initiatives taken by the group, they will become active participants and not passive observers.

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FAQ on Asian Elephant Specialist Group

Q.1) What is the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is an international association of wildlife experts and field conservationists involved in studying, managing, monitoring, protecting, and conserving Elephas Maximum or Asian Elephants.

Q.2) Who is the Chair of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

Mr Vivek Menon from India heads the Asian Elephant Specialist Group. Mr Menon is also a member of the IUCN Governing Council.

Q.3) Who are the members of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

Presently, there are over 110 volunteers in the Asian Elephant Specialist Group. The members of the AsESG are spread over 18 countries.

Q.4) What is the most significant achievement of the Asian Elephant Specialist Group?

The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) has played a key role in developing the International Trade in Endangered Species Convention (CITES) for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and designing the Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS).