Background and Aims
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The Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG) is a global network of specialists concerned with the study, monitoring, management, and conservation of Asian Elephants (Elephas maximus) in its 13 Range States across Asia. The overall aim of the AsESG is to promote the long-term conservation of Asia's elephants and, where possible, the recovery of their populations to viable levels.
All AsESG members are actively involved in some aspect of elephant conservation and/or management. There are currently over 110 volunteer members from 18 countries led by the Chair Mr Vivek Menon. Apart from the members, the Group also has Ex-officio officials from all Range States nominated by the Ministry looking after elephant conservation in the country. Membership is reviewed and reappointed approximately every four years.
The AsESG acts as the Red List Authority for the Asian Elephant, carrying out Red List assessments for inclusion in the IUCN Red List
Group members have also helped in the development of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) system for Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) and The Elephant Trade Information System (ETIS) .
In addition, the AsESG assisted in facilitation and technical preparation for the First Asian Elephant Range States’ Meeting in January 2006 and the Second Asian Elephant Range States Meeting in April 2017. It has also prepared various guidelines and resource materials including a review of human–elephant conflict mitigation practices in Asia and other related documents.
The AsESG will continue to provide sound scientific and technical advice to aid in decision-making and conservation action, as well as focusing on capacity building to help the Asian Elephant Range States manage the species and the challenges it faces.
In the near future, the AsESG plans to deliver a number of guidelines and services including an Asian Elephant Database (similar in intent and function to the African Elephant Database), guidelines on Captive elephant management, various aspects of human-elephant conflict, management of captive elephants in musth, use of captive elephants for tourism and other aspects of elephant conservation and management. The group would also help the Range States in developing/updating their “National Elephant Conservation Action plan”.