IUCN Species Survival Commission

IUCN Species Survival Commission

The IUCN Species Survival Commission is a special commission operated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The commission's "major role is to provide information to IUCN on biodiversity conservation, the inherent value of species, their role in ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services, and their support to human livelihoods."[1]


Specialist Groups and Task Forces

The SSC operates a multitude of specialist groups and task forces under its wing. Each group is specifically inclined towards the conservation of a specific taxon or organismal grouping. Each specialist group usually has its own members, agenda, official website and publishes its own scientific journal or newsletter.

Each specialist groups are arranged together by taxon.

Amphibians and reptiles

Amphibian Specialist Group

The Amphibian Specialist Group is a global network of dedicated experts who donate their time and expertise to create a community from where practical amphibian conservation can be advanced based on a solid foundation of science. This global network consists of over 700 members in over 40 Regions/Countries enabling the ASG to act on a global scale. The Amphibian Specialist Group web site contains information on projects and partnerships around the world and includes a number of publications relating to the conservation of amphibians, most notably the Amphibian Conservation Action Plan (ACAP).

Crocodile Specialist Group

As its name implies, the Crocodile Specialist Group focuses on the conservation of the world's crocodilian species.[2] The group has produced one major publication on crocodilian conservation, a book entitled Crocodiles: An Action Plan for Their Conservation.[3]

Iguana Specialist Group

Marine Turtle Specialist Group

The Marine Turtle Specialist Group, or MTSG, is one of more than 100 specialist groups and task forces that make up the IUCN Species Survival Commission. The MTSG's mission is: "To develop and support strategies, set priorities, and provide tools that promote and guide the conservation of marine turtles, and their ecological roles and habitats."[4] It was founded in 1966, when Sir Peter Scott asked Dr Archie Carr to chair the group and appoint members. The group now has over 210 volunteer members from more than 80 countries and is considered to be the global authority on sea turtles.[5]

Turtle Survival Alliance

The Turtle Survival Alliance is a partner organization and essentially the IUCN SSC's Tortoises and Freshwater Turtles Specialist Group. [1]


Directory of SSC Specialist Groups for Birds

Cormorant Specialist Group

Crane Specialist Group

Diver/Loon Specialist Group

Duck Specialist Group

Flamingo Specialist Group

Goose Specialist Group

Grebe Specialist Group

Grouse Specialist Group

Heron Specialist Group

The Heron Specialist Group is a collaborative group of researchers and conservationists focused on the biology and conservation of the herons of the world. Herons are 64 species of long legged, long necked birds in the family Ardeidae. The Group was founded in 1984 by James Kushlan and Heinz Hafner and as of 2008 has over 200 members. It has organized several synthetic studies of herons, published as Heron Conservation (James A. Kushlan and Heinz Hafner, 2000, Academic Press), The Herons (James A. Kushlan and James Hancock, 2005, Oxford University Press), and Conserving Herons, A Conservation Action Plan for the Herons of the World (James A. Kushlan, Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Les Sambuc, France). The latter presents the status of the populations of the herons of the world and outlines strategies and specific projects for the conservation of herons.

Megapod Specialist Group

Partridge, Quail and Francolin Specialist Group

Pelican Specialist Group

Pheasant Specialist Group

Rail Specialist Group

Seaduck Specialist Group

Stork, Ibis and Spoonbill Specialist Group

Swan Specialist Group

Threatened Waterfowl Specialist Group

Wader Specialist Group

Woodcock Specialist Group


Directory of SSC Specialist Groups for Fishes

Coral Reef Fishes Specialist Group

Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group

The Groupers and Wrasses Species Survival Commission Specialist Group focuses on conservation efforts for species of fish in the families Serranidae and Labridae. Many members of these families are heavily exploited as food and sport fishes.[6]

Salmonid Specialist Group

The Salmonid Specialist Group specializes in the conservation of species of fish under the order Salmoniformes.

Shark Specialist Group

Shark Specialist Group official site

Sturgeon Specialist Group

The Sturgeon Specialist Group specializes in the conservation of species of fish under the family Acipenseridae.

IUCN/WI Freshwater Fishes Specialist Group

The IUCN/WI Freshwater Fishes Specialist Group focuses on conservation efforts towards the freshwater fishes of the world.


Directory of SSC Specialist Groups for Fungi

Chytrids, Zygomycetes, Downy Mildews and Slime Moulds

Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies


Mushrooms, Brackets and Puffballs

Rusts and Smuts


Directory of SSC Specialist Groups for Invertebrates

Mollusc Specialist Group

Odonata Specialist Group


This category includes 34 groups.[7]

African Elephants Specialist Group

African Rhinos Specialist Group

Afrotheria Specialist Group

This group includes aardvarks, hyrax, golden-moles, tenrecs and elephant shrews or sengis.[7]

Anteaters, sloths and armadillos Specialist Group

Antelopes Specialist Group

Asian Elephants Specialist Group

Asian Rhinos Specialist Group

Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group

Asian Wild Cattle Specialist Group Homepage

Australasian Marsupials & Monotremes Specialist Group

Bats Specialist Group

Bears Specialist Group

Bison Specialist Group

Canid Specialist Group

This group (CSG) includes foxes, jackals, wild dogs, and wolves other than the red and gray, which are in the Wolf Specialist Group.[7]

Caprinae Specialist Group

This group includes wild sheep and goats.[7]

Cats Specialist Group

This group includes only wild cats.[7]

Cetaceans Specialist Group

This group includes dolphins, porpoises and whales.[7]

Deer Specialist Group

Equids Specialist Group

This group includes horses, asses and zebras.[7]

Hippos Specialist Group

Hyaena Specialist Group

Lagomorphs Specialist Group

This group includes rabbits, pikas and hares.[7]

New World Marsupials Specialist Group

Otters Specialist Group

Peccaries Specialist Group

Pinnipeds Specialist Group

This group includes seals and walruses.[7]

Polar Bears Specialist Group

Primate Specialist Group

The Primate Specialist Group (PSG) was organized in 1977 by Dr. Russell Mittermeier, the current Chair and also the president of Conservation International (CI). The Deputy Chair is Dr. Anthony Rylands, also from CI. The PSG is a network of scientists and conservationists dedicated to the preservation of the world's primates, and assist by promoting research on the ecology and conservation of primates. With the help of experts in the field, the PSG evaluates the conservation status of all primates, which contributes to the IUCN Red List. The PSG also generates Action Plans aimed at helping specific groups of species and provides newsletters and journals for scientific publications. These publications cover all four global primate regions: Africa, Asia, Madagascar, and the Neotropics. It broadest journal, Primate Conservation publishes research about threatened primate species.[8]

Sirenia Specialist Group

This group includes dugongs and manatees.[7]

Small Carnivores Specialist Group

Small Mammal Specialist Group

The Small Mammal Specialist Group (SMSG) was formed in 2010 and is co-chaired by Dr Richard Young, Head of Conservation Science at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and Dr Don Wilson of the Smithsonian Institution. The SMSG is a network of scientists and conservationists working to promote a greater understanding of and conservation for the world's rodents, eulipotyphlans (hedgehogs, shrews, moles and solenodons) and tree shrews. These taxonomic groups are made up of over 2700 species, representing around half of all mammals. Led by Dr Giovanni Amori, the Red List Authority Focal Point, the SMSG evaluates the conservation status of all small mammals, which contributes to the IUCN Red List.

South American Camelids Specialist Group

This group includes guanacos and vicuñas.[7]

Tapirs Specialist Group

Wild Pig Specialist Group

Wolf Specialist Group

This group (WSG} is limited to red and gray wolves. Other types of wolves are included in the Canid Specialist Group.


Directory of SSC Specialist Groups for Plants


Disciplinary Groups

Directory of SSC Disciplinary Groups

Conservation Breeding Specialist Group

Conservation Breeding Specialist Group website The Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) is a worldwide conservation network dedicated to saving threatened species by increasing the effectiveness of conservation efforts worldwide. “Conservation Breeding" is a species conservation strategy. It employs the scientifically managed breeding of threatened wildlife for creation and maintenance of populations that serve to enable, support, or enhance the conservation of wild populations.

CBSG is recognized as a respected force using innovative, scientifically sound, collaborative processes to bring together people and knowledge to effect positive conservation change. CBSG is a part of the Species Survival Commission of the IUCN. Its ties to the IUCN are essential to the strength of the CBSG and its position as a vital link among governments, conservation organizations, and others in the conservation community.

CBSG's mission is to save threatened species by facilitating successful integration of conservation efforts worldwide. CBSG links conservation breeding institutions (such as zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens and others) with other stakeholders helping each to contribute more effectively to the conservation of species in wild habitats.

CBSG's work in conservation is based on a central philosophy: that people from many different backgrounds and perspectives are required to address the global biodiversity crisis. Therefore, CBSG emphasizes the exchange of information across diverse groups to reach agreement on the important challenges facing humans and wildlife. They do this by designing interactive, participatory workshops that provide an objective environment, expert knowledge, and thoughtful group facilitation. CBSG's workshop “toolkit” for conservation professionals is based on using sound scientific principles, and promotes the creative use of new information to refine existing wildlife management practices. Through developing a broad understanding of challenges and alternative solutions, workshop participants can produce meaningful and practical management recommendations that generate political and social support for conservation action—from local communities to national political authorities. Timely production of workshop reports has immediate impact on stakeholders and decision makers.

Invasive Species Specialist Group

Invasive Species Specialist Group website

Publishes the newsletter Aliens.

Re-introduction Specialist Group

Re-introduction Specialist Group website

Sustainable Use Specialist Group

Sustainable Use Specialist Group profile

Wildlife Health Specialist Group

Wildlife Health Specialist Group website

Task Forces & Working Groups

Directory of SSC Task Forces & Working Groups

Asian Vulture Task Force

Large Carnivore Initiative for Europe Working Group

Species Conservation Planning Task Force

Restructuring Task Force


  1. ^ "IUCN - About the Species Survival Commission". International Union for Conservation of Nature. http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/species/about_ssc/. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  2. ^ "Crocodile Specialist Group". IUCN - SSC - Crocodile Specialist Group. http://www.iucncsg.org/ph1/modules/Home/. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Thorbjarnarson, J.; H. Messel, F.W. King & J.P. Ross, editors (1992). Crocodiles: An Action Plan for Their Conservation. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. pp. 132. ISBN 2-8317-0060-4. 
  4. ^ "About the MTSG". IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group. http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/about.shtml. Retrieved 8 September 2010. [dead link]
  5. ^ "The History of the MTSG". IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group. http://www.iucn-mtsg.org/history.shtml. Retrieved 8 September 2010. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group". IUCN Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group. http://www.hku.hk/ecology/GroupersWrasses/iucnsg/about.htm. Retrieved 8 September 2010. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "IUCN SSC Mammals". http://www.iucn.org/about/work/programmes/species/about_ssc/specialist_groups/directory_specialist_groups/directory_sg_mammals/. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 
  8. ^ "Primate Specialist Group – Who Are We?". http://www.primate-sg.org/who.htm. Retrieved 15 August 2010. 

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